Stephen A. Smith’s casual reference to the New York Knicks “snubbing” a trade for Rajon Rondo is “maybe the most ludicrous thing I’ve 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 would’ve 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 — primarily because Dolan wouldn’t allow them to, telling the team in multiple meetings that the players weren’t 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.
“That’s all speculation. Those aren’t facts. People don’t know that, so it’s just people speculating on Rondo’s free agency next summer. That’s all that you’re hearing. You’re not hearing any facts from anybody. Those conversations haven’t even been discussed, so that’s just speculation.”
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 we’re going to be contenders and be in the picture and have something,” said Ainge. “But that’s an ongoing thing. I mean, we feel that way with everybody. … I’ve said many times, Rondo’s 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.”