The logical questions following the exits of Doc Rivers, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Jason Terry was "will Rajon Rondo be next?" and "how does Rondo feel about all this?"
The answer to the first question appears to be "no." And if these reports are true, he's pretty cool with the rebuilding, but he'd like a say in the next steps as well.
As one opposing general manager put it, "I don’t think Danny has made a single call about Rondo. He has gotten calls. But it would be wrong to say he has considered shopping him." And Rondo is perfectly happy to be part of the Celtics going forward. He has not issued a trade demand or a request or even so much as a trade inquiry, a source told Sporting News. He has no incentive to do so. In fact, Rondo welcomes the challenge of taking over the new-look Celtics, however things might pan out.
That report of Ainge not making calls ties with what Ainge himself said today. In addition, it is good to hear that Rondo sees this next phase as a challenge rather than a step back. He's a driven and determined young man and when he sets his mind on a target, he's going to lock in with lazer focus on it.
As I see it, this is similar to the injury that ended his season. It is a step back, but he's still young yet and there's time to overcome this obstacle and come out the better in the end.
Besides, as the new face of the franchise and superstar to build around, he might have some pull in the next moves that Ainge will make. Just not too much pull.
"I’ve always valued Rajon’s input on the players he likes," Ainge said following Monday’s press conference to introduce Kelly Olynyk and Colton Iverson as the team’s newest draft picks. "I feel like I need to walk him through the whole exercise of what my job is and what it entails. He wants us to bring in the players who he feels will help us try to win a championship this year. He feels there are some guys out there who we should be trying to get. "I appreciate that in Rajon. But that’s not realistic for us at this moment." While Rondo almost certainly pushed Ainge to reach out to his former high school teammate Josh Smith – an unrestricted free agent from the Atlanta Hawks who could be in line for a maximum-value contract – Ainge said the team will not be going after any high-profile free agents at the outset of the new league season.
Ainge knows who Rondo is at this point. He knows that Rondo is smart and stubborn. He wants to understand what you are doing and why you are doing it. He's not shy about giving his opinion but if he respects you enough (like he did Doc) then he'll accept your decision and go along with it.
I'm sure he'd love Ainge to go get Smith or Jefferson or some other big name player on the market right now. Still, I think once Ainge lays out the salary cap implications and gives him an idea of a few different ideas he has for the roster, Rondo will be contented.
I think where people get in trouble with Rondo is when they try to tell him to do what they say and mind his own business. Rondo doesn't work that way and the next coach of this team is going to have to walk that line between being the head coach and leader of the team and allowing Rondo to have his say and his voice as well. So you can be that Rondo will have some say in who the next coach will be as well.
So the good news take away here is that Rondo understands what's going on and will be kept in the loop on what's next That seems like a very good place to start.