- Chris Forsberg, ESPN Staff Writer
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LOS ANGELES -- Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo understands that trade rumors are part of the job. That doesn't make it any easier to navigate the NBA trade deadline, even if his name invariably comes up this time of year.
Reflecting on a quiet deadline, one in which the Celtics made no moves, Rondo admitted Friday at the team's morning shootaround at the Staples Center that hearing his name in trade rumors still ruffles him no matter how hard he tries to ignore the noise.
"It gets annoying at times. It’s been like that the last eight years, though," said Rondo. "It’s what I do for a living. It’s not who I am. I play basketball for a living, for the time being. I’ll be 28 [Saturday]. I have a long life to live. I have a lot of things going on outside of basketball for me right now and it’s part of what happens when you’re an NBA player."
Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said he was never close to making a blockbuster move before Thursday’s trade deadline. Sources told ESPN.com earlier in the week that the Houston Rockets were interested in acquiring Rondo.
“There’s been a lot of people that have had interest in Rondo, but Houston never was in the discussion with us throughout this whole trade deadline,” Ainge said Friday in an interview on Boston sports radio station 98.5 the Sports Hub.
Asked if it was nice to simply have that deadline cloud lifted, Rondo was unemotional.
"I don’t know," he said. "Everybody is different. I’m under contact with the Celtics and that’s who I play for."
Rondo spent Thursday in a business meeting at the team hotel, then joined his teammates for a film session right before the deadline officially passed at 3 p.m. ET. Rondo admitted he, "didn't know what was going to happen," even as Ainge denounced rampant rumors about Rondo's future and suggested that the team at no time seriously entertained a substantial offer for his services.
With the trade talk on hold -- for at least a few more months -- Rondo and the Celtics are ready to navigate the final 27 games of the 2013-14 season.
"My mindset hasn’t changed from when I came back from playing and it hasn’t changed now," said Rondo. "It didn’t change in the Phoenix game because I was in a lot of trade talk. I still had one focus -- to play as hard as I can for this team, and to help my teammates try to win games."
Rondo knows the rumors about his future will start again as early as June before the draft. He'll enter the final year of his contract next season and, if he desires to test unrestricted free agency after the 2014-15 campaign, the Celtics would risk losing him for no return on the open market (though they'd remain in a power position owning his rights).
Rondo's name has been bandied in trade talks for much of his eight-year career. This offseason, he'll trigger the criteria necessary for a no-trade clause -- eight years in the league; four with one team -- but would need to wait until his next contract to net that security as the current CBA appears to indicate that no-trade clauses cannot be included into extensions.