Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge told reporters Thursday night that he intends to keep Rajon Rondo around in spite of the team’s decision to draft fellow point guard Marcus Smart at No. 6, observes Chris Forsberg of ESPNBoston.com. Rondo’s name has come up frequently in trade rumors, but Ainge, as usual, did his best to dispel such talk, also dismissing the idea that Smart’s arrival is a harbinger of soon-to-be restricted free agent Avery Bradley‘s departure.
“Absolutely. No question,” Ainge said of whether Smart and Rondo could share the floor. “And [Smart] and Avery. No question. [Smart]’s a very versatile player. He can play off the ball. He can handle the ball. With his length and his size, he can probably play against a lot of small forwards — 6’3″, long wingspan, 230 pounds. He’s a very versatile player. Easily those guys can play together, and I think they would really thrive playing together, all of them.”
Here’s more from around the Eastern Conference:
- Kevin Love is “100%” on board with the notion of signing a long-term deal with the Cavs if LeBron James returns to Cleveland, a source tells Chris Broussard of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Trade talk between the Cavs and Wolves had reportedly halted when Love made it clear he wouldn’t remain in Cleveland past his current deal if Minnesota sent him there.
- Knicks president Phil Jackson reiterated his desire for Carmelo Anthony to take less than the maximum salary to re-sign with the club, notes Frank Isola of the New York Daily News. “I think it puts limitations on a team,” Jackson said of a maximum-salary contract. “What happens is then you end up having two or three players that have big contracts and everybody else’s is either veteran minimums or young players coming in. You don’t have that middle ground for a player that’s veteran, comfortable leadership-quality people. Miami explored it. I think they got the most out of it.”
- The Bucks are looking to acquire a veteran big man, according to Gery Woelfel of The Journal Times, who believes that Larry Sanders would be a part of any deal to acquire one (Twitter links).