12:21pm: Ainge says Rondo has given him the indication that he loves Boston and wants to stay there, adding that “very credible people have made things up” in regard to Rondo trade rumors, as Holmes passes along (Twitter links).
10:58am: Celtics coach Brad Stevens rejects the notion that Rondo is difficult to coach, as Baxter Holmes of the Boston Globe tweets. “He’s been around, he works hard and he’s a guy that I’ve really enjoyed coaching,” Stevens said.
9:59am: Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge left himself plenty of wiggle room in his comments over the weekend, saying that a Rajon Rondo trade is unlikely to happen but refusing to rule it out. Co-owner Wyc Grousbeck took it a step further with full-scale mixed messages, calling Rondo “super stubborn” while also pointing to the All-Star’s generosity and love for Boston, as Adam Kaufman of Boston.com details.
“I know if you ask [former head coach] Doc [Rivers], ‘Was he the most coachable guy, or in the top half, 50%?’ he’d say, ‘No, he’s in the bottom 50% of being coachable.’ It’s hard with him,” Grousbeck said Sunday on WBZ-TV, as Kaufman transcribes.
Still, in the same interview, Grousbeck said he “absolutely” wants to keep Rondo, who can become a free agent next summer, for the long haul.
“It’s intangible,” he said. “You just watch him. He played through sort of a broken elbow, a ripped knee. He’s a gamer, he’s a competitor, and he’s got world-class talent.”
Ainge said that he expects to keep Rondo long-term, tweets Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe, and Ainge denied today that the team has fielded trade calls about its point guard, as Ben Rohrbach of WEEI.com notes (on Twitter). Both Ainge and Grousbeck hinted in their interviews that the Celtics recently had the opportunity to make a significant deal, but not one that would have helped the team accomplish its ultimate goals, Rohrbach observes via Twitter. Ainge also dismissed the notion that free agents don’t want to play with Rondo, according to Rohrbach (Twitter link).