The Celtics will build around Rajon Rondo rather than deal him as part of their offseason remake, Boston president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said Monday.
In a major overhaul, the Celtics dealt coach Doc Rivers to the Los Angeles Clippers for a 2015 first-round draft pick, then sent Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry to the Brooklyn Nets as part of a package that brought back a handful of players plus three more first-round draft picks.
The moves leave Rondo as the last star standing in Boston — though he’s standing on a surgically repaired right knee after having a torn anterior cruciate ligament repaired in February.
“The calls are coming in, the calls have not been going out,” Ainge said when asked if he’d continue dealing. “I think that the assumption is that, (given) what we are trying to accomplish, the reports are such that maybe the assumption is that we’ll give away any of our players. We have had calls. On Jeff (Green), on Courtney (Lee), on Brandon (Bass), on Rondo, on Jared (Sullinger) and our draft pick, Kelly (Olynyk) — there’s been calls for all those guys. And maybe the assumption is we are just changing everybody, but we’re not. We’re starting to get younger.”
Ainge said he believes Rondo, 27, will be ready for the start of next season.
In 38 games last season, Rondo averaged 13.7 points, 11.1 assists and a career-high 5.6 rebounds. In seven NBA seasons, all with Boston, he has averaged 11.1 points, 8.3 assists and 4.5 rebounds.
Scratch Chris Paul from the list of marquee NBA free agents this summer.
Shortly after the start of free agency, the point guard and the Los Angeles Clippers agreed to terms on a five-year, $107 million contract, ESPNLosAngeles.com reported Monday.
Paul can’t sign his new contract until July 10 but could agree to terms as of 12:01 a.m. ET. His agent, Leon Rose, confirmed the signing, according to the report.
“I’m in. ClipperNation,” Paul tweeted.
Paul’s representatives reportedly informed teams hoping to possibly attract the All-Star that he would re-sign with the Clippers, ESPN reported Saturday night.
Reports in the past few weeks indicated that Paul’s chances of leaving the Clippers were slight, but there were rumors linking him to a possible move with Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard, another free agent, to the Atlanta Hawks.
The Clippers brought in Doc Rivers as coach last week to replace Vinny Del Negro, apparently to appease Paul, who has received public blame for forcing Del Negro’s departure.
Paul, 28, completed his second season with the Clippers averaging 16.9 points and 9.7 assists in 70 regular-season games. The season came to a disappointing end when the Clippers were eliminated from the Western Conference playoffs in the first round by the Memphis Grizzlies.
Over eight NBA seasons, the first six with the New Orleans Hornets, Paul has career averages of 18.6 points, 9.8 assists, 4.4 rebounds and 2.4 steals.
NBA NOTES: Free agent Andre Iguodala, who opted out of a $16 million contract for next season with the Denver Nuggets, reportedly will meet with six teams during the NBA free agency period. According to Yahoo Sports, those teams are the Nuggets, New Orleans Pelicans, Sacramento Kings, Golden State Warriors, Detroit Pistons and Atlanta Hawks, a source told Yahoo! Sports. … The Pelicans are committed to giving guard Tyreke Evans, a restricted free agent with the Sacramento Kings, a four-year, $44 million offer sheet when the NBA’s moratorium on signing players ends July 10, according to league sources. … Oklahoma City Thunder guard Kevin Durant told The Oklahoman that switching his representation to Jay-Z’s Roc Nation Sports is not a sign that he will leave the Thunder once he is eligible for free agency. … The Warriors are looking to trade forward David Lee, according to Yahoo! Sports. Lee has three years and $44 million left on his contract. Lee averaged 18.5 points and 11.2 rebounds per game last season, when he was named to the All-Star team. … The Los Angeles Clippers contacted free agent shooting guard O.J. Mayo, according to multiple reports. … Several teams are interested in free agent center Andrew Bynum, who has not played for over a year because of knee troubles. Bynum’s agent, David Lee, told Yahoo! Sports that Bynum will start training in Atlanta this month after finishing his rehabilitation from knee surgery. However, Bynum will not work out for any teams as he looks to resume his career.