It's official. Rajon Rondo is no longer trade bait for Danny Ainge.
At this point, even trading Rondo straight-up for Dwight Howard would be considered a bad long-term move for the Celtics.
If one is to believe Ainge, the Celtics boss who has in the past been called a "snake" (by the likes of Antoine Walker) and is universally regarded as one of the more cut-throat executives in sports, then what he said this past March around the trade deadline should now be telling.
"There's no way we're actively trying to trade Rondo. That makes no sense, no logical sense," Ainge told WEEI in March.
Of course, Ainge hasn't always been so clear about his intentions of holding on to Employee No. 9.
In 2009, Ainge said that he did not consider Rondo to be a "max contract" player and that his point guard needed to "grow up." After that year's playoff loss to the Orlando Magic in seven games, Ainge went so far as to say that Rondo's "presence hurt" the team.
This public bashing was likely a ploy by Ainge to lower the asking price from Rondo's handlers and sign Rondo to a team-friendly deal, which he ultimately did in early November of 2009. Aside from the Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen trades, that signing may have been the best move of Ainge's nine year tenure in Boston.
It's a no-brainer now, but getting an All-Star level NBA player to sign a five-year, $55 million extension is, in any year, a coup.
It remains to be seen if Ainge can find the type of players that suit Rondo's fast-paced game. Josh Smith, Rondo's old high school teammate from Oak Hill Academy in Virginia, is a free agent in the summer of 2013 and could be the perfect running-mate on a Celtics fast break.