Danny Ainge was interviewed by 98.5 The Sports Hub and discussed Rajon Rondo's recovery, Brad Stevens' first win as a head coach, and the difficulties in disturbing playing time with this roster. Here is a transcript of the conversation:
On Rajon Rondo's rehab
"Rondo is practicing, he's been cleared to have some contact, like 1-on-1, but not 5-on-5 full court practice yet, so we're just taking it week by week right now, but he's not ready to come back this week. I'm not sure when he'll be cleared but he's working really hard and we're anxious to get him ready to go."
"I trust Rajon and I trust that he wants to play. Ultimately he's going to be the one determining that, not doctors and everybody else. He's a smart kid and if he's not comfortable mentally or physically, I trust that he'll make the right decision."
On Stevens and Rondo's relationship
"Brad and Rajon have a very good relationship and they talk all the time. Rondo's out on the court and in practice, he's practicing everyday. So yeah, he's got input that is certainly listened to by all the coaches, and by all the players. He's earned that respect."
On Brad Stevens being happy about the first win
"Yeah, it's better but we have another back to back tomorrow and the next day, so he's back at work this morning already watching game film and getting prepared. There's not much time to celebrate or feel sorry for yourself to start the season."
On Brad Stevens as a person
"He's just a really smart guy and a really good guy. He's one of the few people in our business that you run across and is really is who he appears to be. All the things that you appear, and watching him as a college coach, there really is no baggage with Brad. He really is a genuine person; he's a really intelligent person that's learning the game on the fly. It is a learning process for him and he has a good assistant coaching staff that is helping him, some veteran players, but he's just a guy that works harder than any coach that I've seen. I think he's going to be a great success."
On Kris Humphries' playing time
"You'd have to talk to Brad about that but I think it's very equal. Vitor Faverani was our best big the first four games of the year and late in the exhibition season, that's why he earned the starting job. I think Jared Sullinger, you can make the case at times he's our best big, and Kelly Olynyk last night was our best big. Humphries played last night and did a good job coming off the bench but I think there's a debate there and we have five quality bigs. And Brandon (Bass) has probably been our best offensive big, for sure early in the season. It's a tough call. He has five guys he can go to but there's not enough time for five guys every game.
On Gerald Wallace and the difficulties distributing playing time
"I talk to Gerald all the time, but listen. When you're trying to find your identity as a team, everybody is going to have some confusion. We have a lot of guys that want to play more but we have a group of players that are very equal. It's a very difficult job for Brad right now. Not everybody is going to know what their role is and their role could change from game to game. And that's just the way it is right now until somebody really steps up and earns a role. One of the keys to the game last night was Gerald's play off the bench, he was playing with basically three rookies, because Sully half a year last year. He had Sully, Kelly, and Lil Phil out there, and I thought Gerald was the key to those rookies turning the tide and making a 13-point deficit into a 16-point advantage. That was his role for last night and his role for the next little while until something else changes. When you're 0-4 and you're not playing as well as you can, Brad is certainly going to look for some adjustments and some changes to give other people opportunities and we have MarShon Brooks who as played well. He played well the other night when he got a chance and in practice, and yet there's just not the opportunity. We're loaded at the two-guard position and at the big position, so it's no easy to just...there's going to be guys unhappy about their roles and I'm not surprised about that.
On fans thinking the Celts are tanking
"I would just say to that: they're not paying attention. They're not watching all the games. They're not watching all the exhibition games, and they're not at practice. That's certainly not the case. Anybody that's informed and sees what really goes on day to day would not make those conclusions."
On Bill Russell's statue
"It is fun. Bill is such a legend in the game of basketball, so some of the great legends came including two ex-teammates of mine. It was very fun to see Clyde Drexler and Charles Barkley, and Kenny Smith show up; I played with all of those guys. It was fun to see them and reminisce. But Bill and the state was long overdue, and he's been a great addition to our society with all the things he does as a man and a player. I know a lot of the players really look up to him and idolized him in their careers."