Ainge: Smart pick doesn't affect Rondo, Bradley

Ainge: Smart pick doesn't affect Rondo, Bradley
June 27, 2014, 11:45 am
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Does the Marcus Smart pick mean so long to Rajon Rondo?

Maybe. But if it does, don't expect Danny Ainge to say so. He certainly didn't on 98.5 The Sports Hub's Toucher and Rich Show on Friday.

Ainge was asked what the pick meant for Rondo's future in Boston.

"Nothing. Nothing," Ainge said. "I think Marcus and Rondo easily can be backcourt mates. I think Marcus is a guy that we felt could play with Rondo or Avery [Bradley] and Phil Pressey. I think they can all play. I think they can all play on the court at the same time. Marcus is strong enough and long enough that he can even guard some small forwards."

There's been plenty of talk surrounding Rondo and his future with the team as he heads into the final year of his contract. Will he want to stick around with a team still going through a rebuilding phase? Do the Celtics even want him to stick around - for the money he's going to command?

The pick of Smart certainly doesn't do anything to clear that up. If anything, Smart is looked at by some as the team's point guard of the future. His leadership qualities have been highlighted, while Rondo's have been criticized by some - fair or unfair.

And uncertainty at the guard spot doesn't end with Rondo. Avery Bradley is a restricted free agent and after four injury-filled seasons, what the team ultimately decides to do with him is also up in the air. Ainge doesn't see the Smart signing affecting Bradley either.

"Nothing at all," Ainge said. "We love Avery every bit as much as we always have. You got to have depth and you got to have versatility. Marcus and Avery and Rondo form a terrific three-man rotation along with Phil Pressey who really came into his own last year. We have room for everybody. I don't think Rondo and Avery, it means anything to them."

Ainge can say that, but by drafting Smart, both Rondo and Bradley are more expendable. In particular Bradley, who the Celtics can now include in a package for a superstar in a sign-and-trade move, and still have Smart to fill the void left.

It's hard to believe the Celtics drafted a backup guard with the No. 6 pick.