Saunders, a former NBA coach who served as an adviser to the Celtics for part of last season, said Doc Rivers  faces a “challenging” situation.
“Doc, he’s an extremely positive individual,” Saunders said. ” I’m sure that there’s disappointment. But he looks at this as an opportunity and a challenge. Him and his staff, of course, they’ll change how they play a little bit, because you can’t play the same when you’re missing a guy like Rondo that generates 40 percent of their offense, basically, from what he does either scoring-wise or setting people up.
“They’ll change a little bit, but Doc’s not going to let this be any excuse either to himself, to his team, the organization or the players that they can’t go out and compete and win.”
Saunders said he expects some basic changes, including Rivers becoming more controlling of the offense and the team’s two veteran stars playing a bigger role.
“They’ll change a little bit,” Saunders said. “They’ll probably become more defensive-oriented, even more so now. I really believe that Doc will probably have to do more play-calling, where when he had Rondo, he was kind of an extension of him on the floor — he let Rondo pretty much run the show, call the plays. I think now he’s probably going to be a little bit more calling plays from the sidelines.
“And I think you’ll see more of the offense facilitated through Paul Pierce . You saw yesterday Paul getting a triple-double. And probably putting the ball into [Kevin Garnett ] in the post more and letting people play off of him in the post.”
There has been speculation that president of basketball operations Danny Ainge will attempt to make a major trade to start the rebuilding process. Saunders isn’t so sure.
“I don’t think so, no. I think they’re going to hold tight. They’re going to give this one more go of it,” Saunders said. “I think the idea that they feel is that we can see where this takes us, let’s give these guys an opportunity to play together and still know that in the offseason if they had to do something they could probably still do something in the offseason if the season didn’t go as they liked.”
Saunders, who coached Garnett in Minnesota, said he doesn’t think the veteran would accept a trade.
“I really believe right now that he’s very much set. He loves Boston. I don’t think he wants to leave Boston,” Saunders said. “KG is a creature of habit. He doesn’t like change. He always was bothered when players were either traded or released. That’s just kind of his innate nature. I believe that he believes he’s a Boston Celtic. I believe that when they sat down and they talked [about a new contract in the offseason] they talked about him finishing his career in Boston. Otherwise he probably would have just rode into the sunset.”