BOSTON — Between birthdaygate and the Boston Celtics (22-44) struggling to win games this season, Rajon Rondo has been dealing with more than his share of critics lately.
But he does have at least one supporter in Celtics co-owner Wyc Grousbeck (does it get much bigger than that?) who reiterated recently how he envisions Rondo being part of the franchise's future for many years to come.
"I can't imagine the Celtics without him," Grousbeck told CSNNE's Bob Neumeier at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference earlier this month.
Rondo will be a free agent after the 2014-2015 season unless he and the Celtics can work out an extension between now and then.
"So we're going to try to keep him. I hope it works out," Grousbeck said. "If it doesn't work out we'll go to Plan B. But he's been great for us, he's got us a ring, and is now the captain of the team, and I love having him here."
Rondo got wind of Grousbeck's comments.
"It means a lot, especially coming from the head guy," Rondo said following Boston's 87-80 loss to Phoenix on Friday night. "With a lot of rumors swirling and criticism the past couple of weeks, he stuck his neck out. He didn't have to say anything, but he did."
Rondo said the two have talked recently, and "things are the way they're supposed to be."
The trade talk surrounding Rondo will surely resume this summer, especially after teams have had a chance to see him play what will likely wind up being 30 or so games.
Rondo, who missed a significant portion of the season while recovering from a torn right ACL injury, is well aware that being traded is always a possibility regardless of what anyone - even Grousbeck - says.
But as things stand now, Rondo isn't going anywhere.
Rondo recalled a dinner earlier this season when Grousbeck expressed how he felt about him.
"So I don't think he's a liar; I know he's not a liar," Rondo said of Grousbeck. "He didn't have to tell me anything. We spoke and what he said recently, hasn't changed."