Interesting word choice by Celtics all-star point guard Rajon Rondo when asked about the rumor that Carmelo Anthony was recruiting him to the Knicks.
From the Boston Globe:
When asked if Boston is home and he is a Celtic, Rondo said, “I’m a Celtic right now.”
That's certainly not a ringing endorsement that Rondo sees himself retiring a Celtic.
Of course, this could easily be over analyzing, but that comment could mean multiple things.
Rondo could be sick of constantly coming up in trade rumors. He may want to go to a place where he has the security of knowing he's a cornerstone of a team and Boston may not be that. This team is just starting to rebuild after the end of the newest Big Three era and Rondo, 27, may be close to or on the wrong side of 30 when the team is back up to full speed. Danny Ainge has said all along that Rondo isn't going anywhere, but anytime a GM speaks to the media it needs to be taken with a grain of salt. If Ainge was trying to shop Rondo or has plans of moving him when he's healthy, he's certainly not going to announce it to the world and kill any leverage he has with other teams. Rondo is this team's best asset, either to trade or build around so don't expect those rumors to go away anytime soon.
Another source of frustration for Rondo could be how the team is approaching his return from a torn ACL. It's interesting that earlier in the season, Ainge was saying it's up to Rondo when he returns. Now, Ainge is saying he can still see a limp when Rondo walks and is "not close" to returning. Reading the tea leaves, that frustration could already be showing its face as Rondo had been doing things like playing 3-on-3 when he wasn't cleared to last month to now pushing back when he'll see his doctor to get cleared to practice. Before he didn't care about getting cleared by doctors and now he's holding himself out? Either he suffered a setback or something's up.
It could also simply be that Rondo doesn't really care where he plays. Or not that he doesn't care, but he doesn't put as much stock into it as past Celtics have. You can't tout Kevin Garnett for saying things like he "bleeds green" and then give a pass to Rondo saying "I'm a Celtic for now." Those are two vastly different statements from two players with vastly different personalities. Yes, Rondo will fight for his teammates just like KG will and he's cultivated some strong relationships with players like Kendrick Perkins, but where's the "I want to retire a Celtic" or "This is the only place I want to play" or "I couldn't see myself playing anywhere else"? He did say in October that he "loves it here" in Boston and questioned why he would want out, but that statement is a few levels below bleeding green and certainly isn't what he's saying now. How many professional athletes have said they love a place then bolt at their first chance? For Rondo, maybe he just wants to win titles regardless of where that is and isn't the kind of guy who dives head first into the city he plays for wanting nothing else out of life. Not to say he's an obnoxious team jumper like Dwight Howard, but this whole thing smells of "I'll win here or I'll win there, doesn't matter as long as I'm winning."
Many writers on this site have said, in regards to the issues Boston has signing free agents, that once a guy comes here he wants to stay. Does everyone get the sense that Rondo absolutely wants to stay? Would anyone be totally shocked if he left as a free agent?
Who knows, maybe this is all a bunch of crap and Rondo doesn't want to make any statements that might come back to haunt him, ala Doc Rivers being the Jerry Sloan of the Celtics, knowing the situation he's in and the fact he could no longer be a Celtic regardless of if he wants to stay or not.
Eric Blaisdell 12/11/2013 07:13:00 PM Tweet