Ainge is expecting Rondo to have a career year next season, and is it because Rondo will be playing for a contract? It's likely he feels that way because Rondo will be looking at a new deal at the conclusion of the 2014-15 season.
I think Rondo will regain his crown as top assist man, but can Rondo lead the Boston Celtics back to the playoffs? It depends upon Ainge's summer. It also depends on Ainge not trading Rondo. Ainge spoke highly of Rondo, but at the same time Ainge was not willing to say Rondo was a guy that he wouldn't trade.
“I think Rondo’s going to have a great year next year,” Ainge said. “I think he’s going to have the best year of his career. Watching Rondo right now and watching him develop as a player I feel like he’s headed towards the best year of his career.”
Rondo has been mentioned several times in trade rumors this season. When asked if there was a good possibility Rondo would be with the Celtics next year, Ainge said, “Of course.”
When asked if he has spoken with Rondo about the guard’s long-term future in Boston, Ainge said: “Listen, I tell everybody the same, whether it’s KG [Kevin Garnett], Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo, whatever, I really love and respect all the guys but I can’t ever promise anybody that [a trade] won’t happen. That’s not my job. My job is not assure them [they’re staying] but to do what I think is best for the Celtics. I don’t have an intention or plan [to trade Rondo] but I can never make that sort of promise.
“I don’t know who’s going to be in a Celtics uniform. We have a lot of work to do this summer. I think Rondo is our best player.”
With the Celtics missing the playoffs, Rondo will get some extra time to rest before working himself into premium condition for next season. He also has said he will reduce his off-the-court obligations.
“I think he’s getting there,” Ainge said. “I think a summer of more rehab and a little bit of the extra rest, I really believe he’s going to put the extra time in and that’s why I sort of feel like this was a transition year for him in just coming back.
“I think Rondo would have felt bad and probably wouldn’t have come back as early as he did had our team been winning a lot of games. It’s hard for a player not playing the way that they’re used to and he’s a great player with great pride. But I think in his mind and what I see on the court, he’s gotten over that. I’m really excited about next year for him.”
Ainge, isn't sold on Rondo. That's clear to the fans, and clear to other NBA GM's who continue to call Danny about Rondo. Simlar to Paul Pierce's time in Boston, before the 2007 draft. The lottery could seal Rondo's fate. If the Celtics had picked up one of the top two spots in 2007, Pierce would have been traded.
Rondo could deal with the same issue if Boston picks first or second this season. After hearing Ainge during his two broadcasts on CSNNE. He wants Rondo to score ball, and Rondo has failed to deliver for Ainge.