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Rudy Gay: Rajon Rondo ‘will be stronger than ever’

Celtics [1] point guard Rajon Rondo [2] might not share his thoughts on the last eight months with the Boston media, but he’s certainly opened to his friends, including Raptors star Rudy Gay [3], the recipient of Rondo’s greatest alley-oop pass [4]. Not that Gay, who included Rondo in his wedding [5] over the summer, is going to share that info, either.

“If he’s not telling, then I’m not telling,” said Gay, who just finished scoring 17 points on 11 shots in an efficient 23:12 during a 97-89 victory against the Rondo-less Celtics in Boston. “He’s working his hardest to get back. He’s not the type of guy to take a day off. He’s worried about the team, and he’s worried about himself.”

While it may be strange for Celtics fans to see their team without Paul Pierce [6] and Kevin Garnett [7], it’s not all that weird for guys like Gay, who entered the league when Pierce’s Celtics won 24 games in 2006-07. Since then, he’s seen LeBron James [8], Chris Paul [9], Dwight Howard [10], Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, James Harden [11], David Lee [12], Zach Randolph [13], Tyson Chandler [14] and Jrue Holiday — each All-Stars last season — swap uniforms.

As Gay described it, “Listen, man, the league changes every year.” And he should know. The Grizzlies [15] sent him to Toronto just last year. Really, the departure of Pierce and Garnett is nothing new in today’s NBA, so don’t you think Rondo eventually realized that, too? In fact, Gay believes Rondo will ultimately flourish without them.

“I think all of us know what kind of a player Rondo is,” said the former UConn standout. “He’s the setup guy. He’s the guy. He’s the coach on the floor. So, if that’s not the guy, then I don’t know who is. Even when KG and Pierce were here, he was that setup guy, the coach on the floor, so Rondo’s definitely going to assert his will.”

When, exactly, remains to be seen. If Gay knows, he’s not sharing, although he’s sure of one thing about Rondo: “He’s a tough guy, man. He’ll be back, and he’ll be stronger than ever. I wouldn’t putt that past him at all.”

And when Rondo does return, the C’s might make some noise in an Atlantic Division Brooklyn made “top-loaded.”

“I think with [the Celtics], they have to be scrappy,” said Gay. “Kind of like they played today. They have to be scrappy — can’t take a possession off. Of course, Rondo’s coming back, and he’s going to help them tremendously with the kind of game he has. So, who knows? They’re going to be one of those scary teams.”