ORLANDO — The Celtics didn’t play or practice Thursday at the Orlando Summer League, and new coach Brad Stevens made wise use of the offday by making a short trip to Louisville, Ky., the hometown of All-Star point guard Rajon Rondo.
Stevens spoke at Rondo’s basketball camp and chatted with Rondo, marking an astute move by Stevens with regards to the Celtics’ mercurial floor general.
Much has been made about whether Stevens and Rondo will get along. Rondo is, of course, notoriously strong-headed, and Stevens is 36 with no NBA experience.
But from the day Stevens was introduced as the 17th head coach in franchise history, the former Butler University coach has tried to make it clear that he likes Rondo — a lot.
“There is no bigger fan of Rajon Rondo than me,” Stevens said. “I’m looking forward to sitting down and learning from him.”
Rondo’s agent, Bill Duffy, told the Globe earlier this week Rondo is approaching their relationship with an open mind and that Rondo is excited about next season.
“Brad Stevens has been very complimentary of [Rondo] and said he wants to learn from him because [Rondo] knows more about the league than [Stevens] does,” Duffy said.
“But he’s a smart guy with a great pedigree thus far, and you’re one of the top players in the game, so it could be really special and unique.”
The Celtics will close out Summer League play Friday against the Magic.
Purdue assistant Micah Shrewsberry, who was an assistant under Stevens at Butler, is set to join Stevens’s staff in Boston, sources close to the situation told the Globe.
The move isn’t official yet and likely won’t be until early next week, the sources said. Former Purdue guard DJ Byrd posted a message on Twitter that reads, “Congratulations @MicahShrews! #boston #celtics”
Shrewsberry joined the Purdue staff in 2011 following four years at Butler, all of them under Stevens. Shrewsberry, an Indianapolis native, arrived at Butler in 2007 as coordinator of basketball operations, and was promoted to assistant coach in July 2008.
Shrewsberry joins assistants Jay Larranaga and Jamie Young on the Celtics’ staff. Both Larranaga and Young were with the Celtics last season.
It’s expected Stevens is also looking at hiring another assistant with a lot of NBA experience. League sources have said Bulls assistant Ron Adams is under consideration.
Rivers a big fan
In an interview with USA Today, former Celtics coach Doc Rivers, now with the Clippers, strongly praised the hiring of Stevens.
“I think [the Celtics] have done a hell of a job,” Rivers said. “I’m a big Stevens fan, have always been. It’s funny, I talked to him about a month ago about another [NBA head coaching] job where somebody else was thinking about hiring him and the GM from there called me to talk to Brad to get a feel if he wanted to coach in the NBA.”
Was it a head coaching position or an assistant coaching position?
“No, a head job,” Rivers said. “And then the way it works out, four weeks later, he takes my job [laughs]. It’s funny. I told him that he’d be an excellent NBA coach, and he’s ready for it. Whether you want to leave Butler or not, now that’s up to you. I said that’s a personal situation, and it’s funny because I told him, I said, ‘I’m going through that right now, and I don’t know what I’m going to do.’ Maybe the fact he saw me leave, he thinks, ‘Well [expletive], I’m leaving too.’ ”