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Thursday, March 1, 2012
Ainge: Rondo is Boston's 'best player'

By Chris Forsberg



Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge called Rajon Rondo the team's "best player" and reaffirmed on Thursday that he's not actively trying to trade his 26-year-old point guard.

During his weekly call to Boston sports radio WEEI (93.7 FM), Ainge acknowledged the out-of-control nature of trade season and the rumors spawned at this time of the year. But Ainge took umbrage with the idea that the team would even consider shopping Rondo.

AP Photo/Josh ReynoldsDanny Ainge reaffirmed that he's not actively trying to trade Rajon Rondo.
"He's our best player, he's the most important part of our future," said Ainge. "There's no way we're actively trying to trade Rondo. That make no sense, no logical sense."

Ainge went on to note that another team could always bowl over the Celtics with an offer to obtain Rondo's services and admitted he couldn't turn down one that made the Celtics better, but concluded, 'I've made zero calls to try to trade him, and I won't."

A handful of Ainge quotes of note from the call that focused almost exclusively on Rondo and the rumors:

* On communicating with Rondo after new rumors: "I talk with Rondo regularly, as [coach] Doc [Rivers] does, so we have continual conversations. I have conversations with them often, so I don’t run to him every time there’s something being said or something being done. But I’m very confident that Rondo knows what I think of him, what I feel about him as a player and how important he is to our team. I feel like Rondo is making incredible strides as a player, as a leader, as a teammate, and as a player in every way -- offense and defense -- it’s almost as silly to me as when the Patriots lose two games and people want to blame Tom Brady. When you’re the best player on a team that’s not living up to your expectations, you’re a hot topic."

* On Rondo as a player the team can build around in the future?: "I hate that terminology that we all use, ’to build around.’ First of all, nobody is that good to build around. You’ve got to have building blocks, you gotta have a 12-man team, you gotta have a starting lineup, you gotta have pieces. No player can do it on their own. So my job is to listen to everything. I’m listening to everything. I don’t come to conclusions -- except that LeBron James and Kevin Durant are the two best players in the league, I’ve concluded that -- other than that, I really don’t make those conclusions. I have to be ready to react. We have a plan, we have an idea of the most likely scenario to have happen. We have to react. And we have to be ready to react to put ourselves in position to have things go our way."

* On Rondo as a stubbor, high-maintenance player: "No, I don’t think that’s fair. I think that he is as stubborn as he is intelligent. I think is a fair assessment of him. But with that, there’s higher maintenance, but I don’t know a quality player that I’ve played with that wasn’t higher maintained than your average player."

* On Rondo's maturation this season: "I just feel, that there's not a lightning bolt that hit somebody. It's been incrementally getting better. He's gotten a little better over time and this year even better. I think that he came in after the lockout this year, he was a little more mature, I think he handled [the trade rumors] really well. I think that, the little two-game suspension that he went through recently where he threw the ball at the official is a learning process for young players. I think he’ll learn from that and grow from that. I just think it’s all part of the process with Rajon. I think he’s getting better incrementally."