LOS ANGELES – The NBA trade deadline is always filled with uncertainty for players, and that was true Thursday for Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo.
“I didn’t know what was going to happen,” Rondo said before his team's shootaround at Staples Center, where the Celtics will play the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday night.
As was the case in previous years, Rondo was again involved in trade rumors, some of which seemed louder as teams wondered if he wanted to be with a rebuilding team.
While trade talk swirled, Rondo’s agent, Bill Duffy, came to the team’s hotel in Beverly Hills. Rondo also met with another representative from Duffy’s agency.
Finally, the deadline passed at 3 p.m. and Rondo was still a Celtic.
Several teams were reportedly interested, but none were interested enough to meet the Celtics’ high asking price.
A day later, Rondo was asked if it was nice to have the trade deadline in the past.
“I don’t know,” he said. “Everybody is different. I’m under contract with the Celtics and that’s who I play for.”
Rondo is under contract with the Celtics through the 2014-15 season. Then, in the summer of 2015, he will become an unrestricted free agent.
Rondo has said before that he’s intrigued by the free agency process, but he has also said that he doesn’t like change and could see himself staying in Boston for the rest of his career.
As for being mentioned in rumors, Rondo said, “It gets annoying at times. It’s been like that the last eight years, though. 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. “
In a rebuilding season, Rondo wasn’t the only Celtic who might have been traded, but Rondo said he didn’t notice concern among his teammates.
“It’s not the first trades that a lot of these guys have been through,” he said. “We’ve all been through them. When that time comes, it comes.”
While Rondo has only played for one team, he also has been in rumors enough that he can talk from experience about how to deal with them as the deadline looms.
Even then, he said telling his teammates to relax won’t soothe their concerns.
"You can say those things, but at the end of the day, when you go home to sleep at night, it’s different for certain guys,” Rondo said.
“I can tell Joel (Anthony) until he’s blue in the face, ‘Don’t worry about it.’ But if that’s what he thinks mentally, that things might happen, that’s what it is.”
When the trade deadline rolled around in the past, Rondo said former Celtics Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce would tell the younger players to focus on what they could control.
“Obviously, you believe those type of guys, but they don’t have the control,” Rondo said. “It’s all about a matter of what happens.”
But did Rondo, now the Celtics’ captain, feel that he had to say something to some of the younger Celtics?
“Yeah, I don’t talk much about it,” he said. “We didn’t speak much about it as a team. (Celtics coach) Brad (Stevens) announced it a couple times in the meetings, in the morning shootarounds, but I didn’t say much about it.”
Even then, Rondo said trades were out of Stevens’s control, too.
“Danny (Ainge) and Wyc (Grousbeck) call the shots,” Rondo said, speaking of Ainge, the Celtics’ president of basketball operations and Grousbeck, the team’s co-owner.
“They pull the trigger. Coaches have mentioned it all the time in the past, but, still, things can happen. You do have a say so, but at the end of the day, Danny is going to do what’s best for the team.”
The Celtics remained intact through the deadline, but Rondo said his focus before and after is the same.
“My mindset hasn’t changed from when I came back from playing (after missing nearly a year following a knee injury) and it hasn’t changed now,” he said. “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.”
Stevens said he hasn’t heard any heckling from Lakers fans during his time here.
“Nobody knows who I am,” the rookie NBA coach said with a laugh. “Nor do I really stop. I usually have my headphones in, and I don’t walk around the street with green on.
“I did get some comments because I had my Red Sox shirt on (Thursday). I got, ‘Go Sox!’ They don’t know who I am, but clearly there are some Red Sox fans around here.”
Rondo said he won’t play Saturday when the team plays the Kings in Sacramento. It will mark the fourth time that he has sat out the second game of a back-to-back set for precautionary reasons as he eases his way back into form.