Rajon Rondo attempted to avoid the media at yesterday’s shootaround, but then spoke publicly for the first time since a report surfaced this week that the Celtics were shopping him because of his attitude, and clashes with coach Doc Rivers.
It’s the second time in three months that Rondo has been the subject of trade rumors. In December, team president Danny Ainge acknowledged Rondo was part of a package to attempt to acquire Chris Paul from New Orleans. That deal fell through, but at the time Rondo said he was shaken by the possibility of leaving.
This time, he said he’s been assured that the team isn’t looking to move him.
“I’m doing all right,’’ Rondo said. “Like they say, it’s part of the business. I’m happy just playing basketball. I’m happy with the guys they have surrounded me with, the coaching staff. Other than that, when I’m on the court I’m just focused on winning and just having fun while I’m doing it.’’
Rivers and Rondo have both acknowledged past troubles with their relationship, but said it is vastly improved.
“It’s good to hear [positive words] come from the head coach, but some great opportunity might come out and [a trade] may happen, but you never know,’’ Rondo said. “Obviously, that was big of Doc to come out with that statement. That meant a lot to me, but I know the relationship we have.
“It’s gotten better each year. Like he said, it’s gotten stronger each year and this is the best that it’s been.’’
Rivers said he has no issues with trade rumors if they have validity, but indicated this one didn’t.
“I don’t mind any rumors that are true,’’ he said. “I do get upset when it’s not true or in my opinion sometimes news is created and then people report on the news that they created. And when that happens, I’m not real happy with it.
“So in this case and in the [Pau] Gasol case, that’s two already, I haven’t been real happy with it because there’s no truth to that.
“The Gasol rumor was even crazier. That was just ridiculous. I don’t know where it came from. When that kind of stuff happens, it bothers you because it’s being created by somebody outside of your touch and you can’t do anything about it.’’
O’Neal mulls surgery
Jermaine O’Neal’s left wrist injury is more serious than initially thought and he is considering three treatment options - a cortisone shot, minor surgery that may get him back in a month, or season-ending surgery.
O’Neal was injured Feb. 20 against the Mavericks when he landed awkwardly after taking a charge. He saw a hand specialist Wednesday who told him that his long-term health could be at stake.
“People talk about the term ‘sacrificing your body’ and I’ve done that,’’ he said. “With those charges, almost every time I’ve been out this year it’s been because of me taking those charges. It’s a situation where you gather all your options. I know what my options are as far as surgeries and injections. It’s something I’ve got to have surgery on. You’re just trying to figure out when to do it.’’
When asked if his season would be over if he had surgery, O’Neal said, “It will be close. It’s a couple of different type of surgeries I could have. The issue I’m running into now is I’m 33 years old and I have a little boy and a little girl, and I went to pick my son up, and I couldn’t pick him up.
“We saw some changes in the MRI that long term you have to be worried about. I didn’t come to Boston for any money. I made a ton of money in my career. I came here to win a championship. Obviously, we’ve been up and down, but at some point in life you have to figure out just how much your body can take. I want to be able to function and that’s the conversation that I’m having now more than ever. Playing vs. functioning while I’m finished playing. That’s probably the biggest concern right now.’’
O’Neal said he will continue to work out while mulling his options.
“Whatever the decision is, it’s probably going to be the best decision of my life,’’ he said.
Former Celtics first-round pick Gerald Green scored 10 points in a 93-92 win over Dallas on Tuesday in his debut for the Nets after being signed to a 10-day contract. Green, who was with the Celtics from 2005-07, had been playing in China and Russia.
“It was tough,’’ Green said. “You know, this is the greatest league in the world, so if you’re not here it’s kind of like you’re just lost. I mean, basketball is still basketball, so I think I’ve learned a lot from my experience overseas, two years. But overall, I’m just happy to be here.’’
Green said he has no regrets about skipping college.
“Everything happens for a reason,’’ he said. “I think I was young when I came in, young and immature. I think if I’d known the stuff I know now things would be a lot different. But that’s the good side of things - sometimes it’s not the mistakes you made, it’s when you know you made a mistake and correct it and not try to do it again.’’
Allen out sick
Ray Allen missed last night’s game with flu-like symptoms, the fifth game he’s missed this season. He sat one because of an illness and three because of a jammed left ankle. Mickael Pietrus got the start and scored 11 points . . . Nets center Brook Lopez played his fourth game after missing the first two months of the season following foot surgery.Frank Dell’Apa contributed to this report. Gary Washburn can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow him on Twitter at @gwashNBAGlobe