Rajon Rondo is entering the final year of his contract with the Celtics, and will become an unrestricted free agent once the season is finished.
As Boston continues its rebuild, it’s more than possible that Rondo may want to leave in order to pursue a situation more readily able to win in the immediate future, and if that were to happen, the Celtics would lose their best player for nothing, without getting anything in return.
It made sense, then, to a certain extent that Rondo would reportedly have wanted out, much the same way Kevin Love did with the Timberwolves this summer.
But Rondo’s agent refuted that report fairly quickly, and Celtics president Rich Gotham recently did the same.
Celtics president Rich Gotham told the Globe during a community appearance in Jamaica Plain on Friday that the club has not received any trade demand from four-time All-Star point guard Rajon Rondo.
ESPN reported that Rondo “wanted out” of Boston and had requested a trade. Publicly requesting a trade would draw a fine from the NBA, but Gotham said the club has no idea about any demand or Rondo’s reported unhappiness.
“You know if he has made that demand, it hasn’t been directly to the Celtics,” Gotham said.
“I have not heard that. Rajon’s been working out all summer [in Boston]. He’s been here. This is his home. He’s been working hard. Everybody’s happy with his progress and everything he’s told us is he’s excited to be here, taking on a leadership role with the team.”
None of these denials, of course, make a trade involving Rondo before next season’s deadline any less likely.
The issue for the Celtics right now is that Rondo is coming off of an injury, and his value in trade is at an all-time low. A deal this summer would be foolish from the team’s perspective, but should Rondo return to All-Star form in the early months of the season, and if by then he has formally informed the team that he’ll look elsewhere once he reaches free agency, it would make sense to try to sell high if that scenario should unfold.
But at least for now, the denials have succeeded in drowning out the initial report of Rondo’s discontent.