WALTHAM Danny Ainge says he has no plans to trade his All-Star point guard, Rajon Rondo, - or any of the Big 3 for that matter - this season.
Rondo's name, more than any other Celtics player, has been linked with several possible trades, with the most notable one being a deal that would send him to New Orleans in exchange for fellow All-Star Chris Paul.
While Ainge, the Celtics' president of basketball operations, was quick to shoot down the potential trading of Rondo, that doesn't mean Rondo won't return to camp feeling somewhat slighted.
Remember, Rondo took the trading away of his best friend, Kendrick Perkins, harder than any other Celtic player and to some degree, it affected his play.
"Rondo will be fine," Ainge told reporters Thursday morning. "Rondo knows that we love him. He knows that we like him. He's excited to come back and play basketball; that's my opinion."
With the new Collective Bargaining Agreement yet to be ratified by both the players and the owners, league rules prohibit Ainge from speaking directly to Rondo.
However, a league source has told CSNNE.com that the C's have told Rondo's representatives that they are not actively shopping him to other teams.
Even though Ainge's intentions are not to move Rondo, Ainge's job is to field the most competitive team he can.
And if that means trading a fan favorite like Rondo like he did Kendrick Perkins in February, Ainge has shown a willingness to make such a bold move.
While all of the Big 4 are sure to be brought up in potential trade talks this season, the Rondo-Paul trade rumors are likely to be the first of many involving the 25-year-old.
"He gets a lot of attention. He's a great player," Ainge said. "There's a lot of people that call me and ask me about Rondo. How these rumors get out, that's unfortunate. But we didn't leak those rumors out. We'll deal with it. he'll be fine."
Celtics coach Doc Rivers has had his share of ups and downs coaching Rondo.
But that doesn't take away from the fact that Rondo, a two-time all-star, has been an integral part of the C's success in recent years.
"He's one of the top point guards in the NBA," Rivers said. "Rondo has established that. Listen, there's a reason when whatever this thing leaked out, it was all over the news. It's because the players they were talking about, are both really good. Rondo has established that with his play. He is a great basketball player and he does so many things for our team.
Rivers added, "He should be flattered in a lot of ways, that this is news."