Ainge: Rondo's not going anywhere

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Ainge: Rondo's not going anywhere

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."

Lance Stephenson goes back at Isaiah Thomas for recruiting Paul George on Instagram

Lance Stephenson goes back at Isaiah Thomas for recruiting Paul George on Instagram

Isaiah Thomas keeps recruiting players on Instagram. It was only a matter of time before somebody got pissed. 

Thomas, who on Wednesday commented on a photo of the disbanding Clippers telling Blake Griffin to come to Boston, was up to his old tricks again later in the day. With Paul George almost a certainty to be dealt this offseason, Lance Stephenson posted a picture of he and George pleading with him to stay in Indiana. Thomas wasn't exactly polite in his comment, leading to a back-and-forth.

"Blasted" might be a stretch, but the Celtics did indeed go 3-0 against the Pacers last season, though none of the wins were by large margins. George dropped 37 points on the Celtics in Boston's 109-100 win on March 22. 

Tatum easing into new challenge with Celtics

Tatum easing into new challenge with Celtics

BOSTON -- While the newest Boston Celtics were scattered about while at a community service event, 19-year-old Jayson Tatum was sitting in a really comfortable-looking chair, resting. 

The past few weeks have been a whirlwind unlike any he had ever experienced, beginning with the pre-draft process, to workouts, to the draft itself and all the appearances and media engagements that have followed. 

“It’s a lot,” Tatum, grinning, told CSNNE.com. “But I’m taking it one day at a time.”

That steady-as-she-goes approach served him well during his lone season at Duke. 

Keeping an even-keeled approach will bode well for him as he gears up for his first taste of NBA basketball beginning with summer league practice this week in preparation for next week’s summer league action which begins in Salt Lake City. 

Boston’s summer league opener will be July 3 against Philadelphia and the top overall pick Markelle Fultz, at the University of Utah’s Jon M. Huntsman Center.

Tatum, who has not played in a five-on-five game since Duke’s loss to South Carolina in the NCAA tournament, is admittedly excited to get back on the floor this week. 

“I can’t wait,” he said. 

Celtics Nation feels the same way about Tatum, selected with the third overall pick in last week’s NBA draft. 

Although it’s only a preseason game, there will be expectations and with that, possibly some added pressure for Tatum to show he was such a coveted player by the Celtics. 

“That’s why Duke helped me a lot,” he told CSNNE.com. “Duke, the best program in college basketball, we were always on the national spotlight good or bad, whether we were winning or losing. That will help me a lot preparing for the Boston Celtics.”

And like Duke, Tatum will have to fight his way on to the court although he readily admits the challenge is much greater in the NBA. 

“Isaiah Thomas, Jaylen Brown, Jae Crowder . . . we didn’t have those guys at Duke,” Tatum said. “It’s gonna be tough; just try my best and get in where I fit in.”

Tatum said he will at times lean on his more experienced teammates, one of which was a former teammate of his – sort of – in Jaylen Brown. 

“I’ve known Jaylen for a while,” Tatum said. “We played with and against each other in high school at AAU camps. 

Tatum added, “at the AAU camps, sometimes we were on the same team and sometimes we were not.”

While much has been made about how the two are similar, Tatum sees both having strengths that complement, rather than compete, with each other. 

“He’s further along than Jaylen was skill-wise and he’s not as far along as Jaylen physically,” said Danny Ainge, Boston’s president of basketball operations. “Again, he’s 19 years old. I don’t want to put any expectations … I want to give him time to grow. We’ll see. He’ll definitely have a role, get a chance to play. And how well he performs is up to him.”

Tatum’s assessment of his game and Brown’s goes as follows:

“He’s a lot stronger, bigger than me,” Tatum, who is 6-foot-8, 204 pounds, acknowledged. “He’s much more athletic. Offensively, I think that’s what I excel in, being smooth and my ability to score. I can just learn from him, the things that he went through last year.”

One of the things he has already picked up on, is that Brown is a pretty smart – and at times clever – dude. 

Not long after Tatum picked jersey number 11, Brown, who wears number 7, took to social media and came up with a 7-11 theme that has already lead to some pretty snazzy t-shirt designs. 

“I thought it was funny,” Tatum said. “It’s catchy; I like it.”

And the Celtics really like Tatum’s game which has been compared at times to former Celtic great Paul Pierce. 

“I hate to make those comparisons when kids are 19 and let his game evolve into whatever it is,” Ainge said. “The similarity is they have good footwork. They both have really good ways to create space for shots. But the similarity … they’re both very good defensive rebounders. Those are two things that stand out to me with Jayson that are Paul characteristics.”

Tatum knows he’s a long way from being in the same company as Celtic royalty such as Pierce. 

Before then he must first earn minutes on the floor which will not be an easy task. 

But Tatum’s demeanor, much like his game, has seemingly always been a bit more mature than most of his fellow basketball brethren. 

Tatum credits his parents, Justin Tatum and Brandy Cole.

“They raised me to be different, be more mature and stand out above the crowd and be my own person and be comfortable in my skin,” Tatum said. “That’s how I’ve always been.”