As always, in his weekly appearance on WEEI’s Big Show, Celtics president Danny Ainge spoke openly about the state of his team. He made two things clear following Rajon Rondo‘s season-ending ACL injury: 1) “It’s silly” to think they’ll be better without him and 2) Paul Pierce trades haven’t been discussed.
“[Rondo] singlehandedly carries us many nights, and I don’t see how people don’t see that,” said Ainge. “When people say we’re going to be better without Rondo, it’s silly. He’s a great, great player. He’s been MVP of four or five series. He’s been the best player on the floor in a series with LeBron James. He’s been the best player on the floor in a series with Derrick Rose. And he’s been the best player on the floor for three games in an NBA Finals.”
Even before Rondo’s injury, Pierce’s name has been thrown around in trade rumors. His contract, which has just $5 million guaranteed for next season, seemingly makes him an attractive target around the league.
“Nothing with Paul has been discussed,” said Ainge. “I too would like to see Paul Pierce retire as a Celtic. Having said that, if something came up, I would talk to Paul.”
The Celtics president claimed few teams have come calling for any Celtics outside of Ray Allen the last few years — citing the fact “nothing got close” in the recent Rudy Gay sweepstakes — and explained that none of his players have asked that they be kept in the loop about trades (again, except for Allen last season).
Ainge also said he’s not searching for point guard help right now, allowing Avery Bradley, Courtney Lee, Jason Terry and Leandro Barbosa to seize their opportunity.
“Whether we win every game or whether we struggle, it all depends on what opportunities are presented,” said Ainge. “We are open [to making deals] and we are listening.”
Meanwhile, Celtics rookie Jared Sullinger left Wednesday’s victory in the first quarter with back spasms. He missed practice today, is undergoing tests and remains day-to-day. The back problems are apparently the same issues that led to Sullinger falling to the C’s in the draft. Ainge admitted, “I’m a little surprised that it’s taken this long.”
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