Boston Celtics co-owner Wyc Grousbeck wants to keep point guard Rajon Rondo despite an earlier proclamation on a television show that the latter is "super stubborn."
It turns out Rajon Rondo is part of the Boston Celtics' long-term plans after all.
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Celtics co-owner Wyc Grousbeck told The Boston Herald's Mark Murphy on Sept. 23 he wants to keep the Boston point guard, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent after the 2014-15 NBA season:
"Another autumn, another tick on Rajon Rondo's transition clock.
"But Celtics officials, gathered today at the Dedham Golf and Polo Club for their annual charity golf tournament, continue to express a uniform desire to keep the Celtics point guard in green long after his contract expires next July.
"Celtics co-owner Wyc Grousbeck, who has long espoused that desire, stayed on message before teeing off this morning.
"'Absolutely it's my goal to keep Rondo here,' said Grousbeck. 'We all think that and I think Rajon wants to stay, and we will be happy to stay. We'll see how negotiations go. I haven't spoken to him recently, but we won't discuss that kind of thing. We're looking forward to the season.'
"Though Danny Ainge clearly mulled over Rondo trade possibilities this summer, the Celtics president of basketball operations said he has not taken any calls for his point guard lately.
"And despite a recent ESPN video segment that portrayed Rondo as wanting to leave the Celtics, Ainge insisted he hasn't heard anything but love for the franchise from his leader.
"'There's a lot of people who have flat-out made stuff up and it's become a hot topic. Very credible people have made stuff up and that makes it worse,' said Ainge. 'A lot of people out there still have some belief that there's truth in the rumors. I can't say it more emphatically. My hope is that we can have a long-term relationship. Players like Rondo are hard to find. Here we are trying to make big deals, and it's hard to get free agents without players with some cache. Rondo is our best player, simply.
"'Right now Rondo has indicated to me that he wants to stay in Boston,' he said. 'He knows who his teammates are, he loves playing with Jeff (Green), Avery (Bradley) and Sully (Jared Sullinger), he spent a lot of time with (Celtics head coach) Brad (Stevens) this summer and that mutual respect has grown.'
"Not only that, either. Rondo, another year removed from knee surgery, has spent the majority of his summer working out at the Celtics' Waltham training facility. Ainge is predicting big things for the point guard, and not just because he is about to enter a contract year.
"'I expect the best year of his career,' said Ainge. 'He's worked really hard this summer and I think Rondo is going to have the best year of his life. He's a year removed from the injury, he's growing and improving as a leader. He's in the prime of his career. What happened to him last year was frustrating, and it led to him having a good, hard-working summer. It doesn't have anything to do with his contract. It's who he is.'"
ESPN Boston's Chris Fosberg also spoke with both Grousbeck and Ainge on Tuesday to get their take on the Rondo issue:
"Boston Celtics decision-makers, including owner Wyc Grousbeck, made clear again on Tuesday that they desire to keep Rajon Rondo with the team for the long-term future.
"Grousbeck raised some eyebrows Sunday when he told a television station that Rondo is 'super stubborn' and questioned how coachable the All-Star point guard is.
"But Grousbeck stressed in that interview that he wanted Rondo, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent after the season, to be a part of the team's future. He echoed those remarks when team officials gathered Tuesday at Dedham Country Club for an end-of-the-offseason golf tournament to benefit the team's Shamrock Foundation
"'It's my goal to keep Rondo here,' Grousbeck said. 'I think we all want that. And I actually honestly think -- he should speak for himself -- I think Rajon wants to stay, or would be very happy to stay. And we'll see how this season goes, and how the negotiations go, but he's proud to be a Celtic. I know that. He's proud to wear that (2008 title) ring and he deserved it.'
"Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge was downright exasperated when asked yet again about Rondo's future in Boston.
"'Are you seriously asking me that again? Yes, we expect Rajon to be in Boston for the long term,' Ainge said. 'Does that need to be asked any more by anybody ever again?'
"During an appearance on Sunday, Ainge admitted that Rondo's impending free-agent status means the team can't unequivocally rule out trading him, but stressed again on Tuesday that the preferred plan is to keep him in green."
The 28-year-old Rondo is entering his ninth NBA season. He has averaged 11.1 points, 4.6 rebounds and 8.4 assists in 505 career regular-season games through Sept. 26, per ESPN stats.
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