Celtics Aren’t Making Rajon Rondo Trade A Priority

The Boston Celtics are in the process of carving out more room to add players, and either trading Rajon Rondo or signing him to an extension aren’t high on their priority list, according to the Boston Globe‘s Gary Washburn. He appears destined for a free agency tour next summer, and the C’s want more evidence he’s bounced back from his ACL surgery before determining whether he’s a part of their long-term rebuilding effort.

After an odd courtship of Kevin Love didn’t pan out, the C’s fielded offers for the 28-year-old all-star. Rondo has been linked to a number of deals this summer.

There were rumblings they might trade Rondo for Sacramento’s No. 8 pick. When that didn’t happen, Rondo’s future in Boston became even more opaque when they drafted Marcus Smart with the No. 6 pick, largely considered the best point guard in the 2014 Draft.

The C’s even reached out to then-restricted free agent Isaiah Thomas as their first contact during the start of July’s free agency moratorium.

The Rockets were apparently trying to get Rondo and Love this summer, which obviously fell apart, even though the Rockets traded Jeremy Lin to the Lakers.

Perhaps the most discouraging news to come out of Boston this summer regarding the often mercurial Rondo, stems from ESPN Basketball insider Jeff Goodman, who said multiple players around league don’t want Rajon Rondo as a teammate, which might have hindered Boston’s free agency chances this summer, if you believe Goodman.

The Celtics have locked up defensive whiz Avery Bradley for the long-term after he signed a four-year, $32 million deal this summer. Bradley, plus the Marcus Smart draft choice gives Ainge some latitude and doesn’t force his hand with Rondo, the last vestige of Boston’s 2008 championship and 2010 Title appearance — where they lost a brutal Game 7 on the road.

Now here’s Washburn with the latest:

While the Celtics are trying to figure out ways to clear roster space before training camp, moving Rondo is not a high priority. First off, Rondo will be a free agent next summer and fully intends on taking the LeBron James-Carmelo Anthony tour of teams and extending the negotiation process deep into next summer. It is highly unlikely Rondo would sign an extension this season with an interested team, especially the Sacramento Kings. Second, the Celtics don’t feel pressed to deal Rondo because they are still trying to determine if he’s part of the future and they are intrigued to see him in action a full 18 months following ACL surgery . . .

Rondo will make $12.9 million this season, but if the Celtics don’t sign him to an extension by October 31, or trade him by the February deadline, he’ll be an unrestricted free agent this summer, and as mentioned above wants to get the Carmelo Anthony treatment from other teams hoping to woo the prescient ball distributor.

After MRI’s revealed Rondo had torn his ACL in the winter of the 2012-13 season, he didn’t return to the court last season until the season’s final 30 games. He averaged 11.7 points, 9.8 assists and 1.3 steals in 33.3 minutes a night during those games — while playing the first few weeks on a minutes restriction. His player efficiency rating and shooting percentages all dropped, so it makes sense the C’s want to see Rondo go through a full training camp and at least some of the season before they pull the trigger on anything that doesn’t give them a full return on his abilities.

Will Rondo remain in Boston through next season?

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