The Rajon Rondo rumor mill has been relatively quiet lately, and for good reason. The point guard looks for healthy for the first time in nearly two years and has thrived in Boston's fast paced offensive system, averaging 10.6 points, 8.4 rebounds, and 11.6 assists per game over the first three weeks of the regular season.
These numbers look even more impressive when you consider that the veteran missed all eight Celtics preseason games due to a broken left hand.
Team president Danny Ainge maintained before the start of the season that he wanted to keep his 28-year-old star in Boston, and a new column from Howard Beck of Bleacher Report indicates that Ainge has held strong to that commitment during Rondo's stellar start when speaking to other teams around the NBA.
Rival executives say that Ainge has been firm in his stance that Rondo will not be dealt. But many of those same executives believe that Ainge has to trade Rondo, to avoid losing him for nothing next summer. "They're definitely bravely saying they won't trade him at this point," said one general manager, who nevertheless added, "I definitely think it's the right thing to trade him. I think Danny knows it."
Currently, Rondo is in the final year of a $55 million contract signed with the Celtics back in 2009. Ainge's patient philosophy with his point guard makes sense for the time being, despite Boston's early-season struggles and Rondo's looming free agency. Boston's offense has played well above expectations, even with a challenging schedule, and Rondo's production has been a major reason why.
The evaluation process will continue for the Celtics over the next couple months as the team determines if Rondo is the guy they want to build with moving forward. If Rondo continues to put up big numbers and the team shows improved success on the floor, chances seem high Boston will be willing to fork over big money to keep their prized point guard. Just how much Ainge is willing to spend on Rondo in the future will depend largely Rondo sustaining his well-rounded production in the weeks to come.
Until the team makes that determination, it's highly unlikely Rondo will be going anywhere.