Celtics begin life without Garnett and Pierce.
Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo has insisted that he is ready to embrace the challenge this year and never thought about quitting the franchise.
Speculation this summer had suggested that the 27-year-old may have considered being traded after seeing the likes of Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce leave.
With rookie coach Brad Stevens replacing Doc Rivers, little is expected of the Celtics this year as they look to rebuild, but Rondo has insisted that they won’t use that as an excuse this season.
“I love it here. The fans are great here,” Rondo said, according to Comcast SportsNet.
“And [president of basketball operations] Danny [Ainge] has been straightforward with me. This is my team. Why would I want to leave? Why would I want out?
Rondo has two years and $24.9m remaining on his contract, but will miss the start of the new campaign as he continues his recovery from a torn ACL.
He is likely to be back ahead of the New Year, and he revealed that coach Stevens has made a real effort since his arrival to connect with him and the pair have grown close as they look to help each other improve their game.
“I never really backed away from a challenge. This would be a challenge. I’m looking forward to working with coach [Brad] Stevens. It’s a brand-new start for us as a team. A lot of new players and a lot of young guys willing to listen, so I’m very excited about that.”
Danny Ainge has been clear in that he doesn’t wish to place a timeline on Rondo’s recovery period, but the Boston faithful will be hopeful that he returns sooner rather than later and can grow into a real leader of this group of players.