The Rajon Rondo birthdaygate situation appeared to come to a close last week. Danny Ainge told reporters the matter was closed, as did Brad Stevens and Rondo, but we never really found out the full details about the situation. Today, that changed. In an interview with Toucher and Rich on 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston,, the two hosts did a terrific job getting the Celtics’ president of basketball operations open up about the situation and reveal the full details about what happened. Here are a few highlights of the interview:
Did Rondo tell Ainge/Stevens he was staying in LA beforehand? “What happened was he stayed in [Los Angeles],” said Ainge. “He let [head coach] Brad [Stevens] know and he let me know that he was going to stay in L.A. an extra day, and we didn’t think that he should. But it was his choice and (we told him) there may be consequences if you stay. It was that simple. “In the end, him and I had a long talk about it. He planned it before and he had reason to believe it would be OK,” explained Ainge. “I understand his reason because of what he’s grown up with and what he’s witnessed. You won’t see it happen again, and we’ve just moved on from it.”
Ainge on Rondo as captain: “He is definitely our captain whether anyone gave him the title or not. That’s his personality,” said Ainge. “He didn’t have the title the last five or six years, but he was still a captain. He was a coach on the floor and one of three or four captains with Paul, Ray and KG. They all act differently, and they all make mistakes by the way in their leadership roles, but I look at every guy on the team as a leader. You’re either leading guys to do better, or leading guys to do worse.”
Ainge on new Celtics culture without Doc: “We’ve had a culture that has been a little different. It has been a great culture of winning, which is very important, and these kind of things have happened. We had a head coach that lived in a different city and would take different planes to different cities. We’ve had KG, who I think Rondo has learned more from as a leader and a pro than any other player. KG didn’t sit on the bench when he didn’t play, and Rondo has been doing that for every game, except that Sacramento game and Milwaukee game – which we held him back.”
Be sure to check out the full interview with Ainge on Toucher and Rich on 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston.