HOUSTON — Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said Monday that he has not received any inquiries from other teams interested in acquiring Rajon Rondo.
Ainge’s comments come on the heels of what seems like an annual tradition — trade rumors involving the All-Star point guard, the latest one involving the New York Knicks.
Yet Ainge said he hasn’t heard from any teams and doesn’t expect that to change.
“Rondo is coming off an injury and I think people know how much we love Rondo, so I don’t expect anybody to inquire, quite honestly,” Ainge said. “People know that Rondo is a big part of our future and that we’re not going to trade him.”
Ainge called Rondo, a four-time All-Star, “the centerpiece of our future.”
“Guys that are starting All-Star players just don’t come around,” said Ainge. “The special players, the transcendent players in our league, are very difficult to find and acquire. We believe Rondo is one of those guys. He’s a very special player. We value him a great deal.”
The Celtics made many offseason changes, overhauling the roster and hiring Brad Stevens as their head coach after Doc Rivers left to coach the Los Angeles Clippers.
And, because the NBA is a business, there could always be more changes down the road.
Yet even though no player on any team is ever untradeable, it seems unlikely that Rondo will be leaving Boston anytime soon.
“What’s real is, he’s going nowhere,” Ainge said. “That’s what’s real.”
It has been about nine months since Rondo had surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. He has been making progress in his recovery, and was running wind sprints and even trying to dunk before the Celtics played the Minnesota Timberwolves in Minneapolis Saturday.
Ainge said there is no time frame for Rondo’s return, but added, “I don’t think we’re feeling that it’s real close. It’s not anytime real soon.”