Since being all but written off following Rajon Rondo's season-ending ACL injury, the Celtics have gone 16-7, strengthening their hold on a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. While there's been some chatter about the team playing better without Rondo in the lineup, GM Danny Ainge dismisses the notion that the All-Star point guard might become expendable going forward, stressing that the team loves the backcourt combination of Rondo and Avery Bradley (link via Chris Forsberg of ESPNBoston.com).
"I don’t know what you're insinuating," Ainge told 98.5 WBZ-FM in Boston when asked about Rondo. "Because Avery is not Rondo and Avery can also play two guard with Rondo and those guys have been extremely effective together. I know that we haven’t had them together much this year and I think that Rajon loves playing with Avery Bradley, for a lot of different reasons. I think that combination last year proved to be spectacular, they just didn’t get a chance to get together much this year, so it's a little bit unfair."
Rondo's name has surfaced frequently in trade rumors over the last several seasons, and even Bradley was mentioned in a couple reports prior to last month's deadline, but according to Ainge, the Celtics don't intend to shop either player this offseason.
"I can’t envision any scenario, no," Ainge said of trading either player. "I love those guys, where Rondo is right in the prime of his career, and Avery's not even there yet, he's continuing to get better. I think they are a great guard combination and to ever consider doing something like that, it would have to be something significant."
While Rondo is under contract through 2014/15, Bradley will be eligible for a contract extension this summer. When Chuck Myron of Hoops Rumors examined candidates for rookie-scale extensions over the weekend, he predicted that Bradley would sign a long-term deal with Boston this offseason.