Stephen A. Smith's casual reference to the New York Knicks "snubbing" a trade for Rajon Rondo is ďmaybe the most ludicrous thing Iíve ever heard", Celtics president of basketball operations told the Boston Herald Thursday. From Smith's story:
Melo knows the Knicks had a chance at LaMarcus Aldridge and blew it. He knows they snubbed a trade that wouldíve brought Rajon Rondo to New York or Kyle Lowry in a separate deal. All year long he sat around, played hard and averaged 27 points per game, while the Knicks stood idly by and did nothing ó primarily because Dolan wouldnít allow them to, telling the team in multiple meetings that the players werenít going anywhere.
Speaking to the Herald in Chicago, were Ainge is looking at prospects for the upcoming NBA Draft, Ainge denied that Ainge was more obtainable now than ever.
"Thatís all speculation. Those arenít facts. People donít know that, so itís just people speculating on Rondoís free agency next summer. Thatís all that youíre hearing. Youíre not hearing any facts from anybody. Those conversations havenít even been discussed, so thatís just speculation.Ē
Ainge also stressed that the Celtics would need to prove to Rondo that the team is committed to getting better as quickly as possible.
"Rondo has to see progress and Rondo has to believe that weíre going to be contenders and be in the picture and have something," said Ainge. "But thatís an ongoing thing. I mean, we feel that way with everybody. ... Iíve said many times, Rondoís going to have the best year of his career next year. I truly believe that."
Last month, Celtics coach Brad Stevens told Boston.com, "There's two things really going for [Rondo]. He only played 25 or 30 games from this year, so he doesn't have a whole lot of wear from this year other than the fact that he was coming off of the injury. So he is going to be pretty fresh going into this summer of work."