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Blakely: "Rondo wants to start the season in Boston"

In today's episode of As The Rumors Swirl Around Rajon, CSNNE's A. Sherrod Blakely confirms Rondo and his agent's statement that neither have requested a trade after Jackie MacMullan claimed that he wanted out of Boston.

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Here's the gist of Blakely's report:

That said, the idea that he would demand a trade at this point is a bit of a head-scratcher. Why now, on the eve of training camp, rather than at the start of the summer, when teams had money to spend and would have been more eager to get something done?

Multiple league sources have repeatedly said that Rondo wants to start the season in Boston and see where things go from there. A similar sentiment has trickled out of Celtics camp, as well.

Rondo is hopeful that the team Danny Ainge is assembling around him is better than most anticipate, that they can be this season's feel-good story not only in the East but throughout the NBA.

In addition to citing his sources, Blakely also notes the curious timing of this supposed trade request and the circumstances surrounding Rondo versus other stars looking to join a contender like Kevin Love.  Teams generally have their roster together by September and with only four weeks until training camp, GM's only look to add around the fringes of their team.  Also, most contenders in both conferences have their point guard situation locked up (except for Houston, a popular rumored destination for #9) and/or have very little financial flexibility to make a move for someone of Rondo's caliber.

There is an issue that Blakely touches on surrounding Rondo's future that sets him apart from franchise players who recently switched teams like Love, Dwight Howard, Carmelo Anthony, and LeBron James: his reputation.  Blakely describes him as "a polarizing, maddeningly talented point guard with a high basketball I.Q. who's sometimes too smart for his own good. He's a crossover-dribbling, ankle-breaking embodiment of the yin-yang theory."  I can't think of another player in the last 10 years who carries this much baggage around.

Sure, there's the rumored incident about a water bottle smashing a video screen.  There's his invitation and subsequent speedy dismissal from USA Basketball.  There's his relationship with Ray Allen.  There are the impromptu pre-season workouts in Los Angeles and the football practices at UCLA.   There's the referee bump and his tangle with Kris Humphries.  There's Birthdaygate.  There's his contentious interaction with the media, but his beloved relationship with his teammates.  There's Jeff Goodman's portrayal of Rondo in Jeff's High Five from last week.  Every story you'll hear between now and the February trade deadline will be tainted with suggestions and gossip about Rondo's demeanor and how his attitude--not his game and what he brings to the court--fits on a rebuilding Boston Celtics or with another team.

Some of these concerns are founded while others are born out of speculation and innuendo.  This is pure editorialization on my part, but I'm personally tired of it.  I don't know Rondo and I don't think anybody really knows Rondo, at least on this side of the pen.  From what I've heard and read, the guys on the floor with him love him.  I'll take Keyon Dooling's word for it.  On his standoffishness with the press, I totally get it.  In the comment section of the Goodman article, so many (old school) readers compared him to Larry Bird, a leader who hated the limelight and brushed off celebrity at every opportunity.  It doesn't surprise me that Rondo opted to sign a shoe deal with Anta (if you haven't been following's coverage of his Asian tour, check it out) like Kevin Garnett did.  Cynics will say that no stateside brand would dare touch him, but from Rondo's perspective, I get it.  He doesn't have to "play the game" and cultivate some public persona that his private self would hate.

He knows how he's portrayed in mainstream media, as if Connect 4 and a head band could paint a full portrait of a man.  But we do that.  We take all these little stories and, for better or for worse, we put them all together to create the Rajon Rondo that we think we know.  Sean Grande compared Rondo's current situation to Paul Pierce's before the Big Three was assembled.  As Grande points out, "those who study history are doomed to repeat it" and we can point out Rondo's history as the best predictor of his future, but let's not forget the last player here to wear the "C" on his jersey.  Pierce had his frustrations with losing and lashed out at management but in the end, became one of the most beloved Celtics of all time.  That's why I'm wiping the slate clean this season.  Rondo played 30 mediocre games last season as he recovered from his ACL surgery, but 2014-2015 will be his first full year as captain of the Boston Celtics and hopefully, not his last.

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