Ainge's criticism of Rondo angers agent

Updated: June 25, 2009, 2:14 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

General manager Danny Ainge's verbal flogging of point guard Rajon Rondo on Boston's airwaves -- one day after saying the Celtics were extremely fond of him -- has drawn the ire of the player's agent.

Rondo
Rondo

Rondo, who helped the Celtics win the 2008 NBA championship and averaged 16.9 points in this year's playoffs, has been the subject of much trade speculation.

After telling reporters Tuesday that he does not intend to trade any of the Celtics' core players this offseason, Ainge told WEEI on Wednesday that Rondo needed "to grow up" and that "his presence hurt" the team in its seven-game loss to the Orlando Magic in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

Ainge also said that Rondo, who is entering the final year of his rookie contract, is not a "max contract player."

"I am just surprised that Danny is speaking, even if he considers it constructively, in a public setting [about Rondo]," the player's agent, Bill Duffy, told WEEI. "I don't think that it's appropriate to say that about one of your top players. Even if it's spoken constructively, I don't think it should be done in public. I don't think he would like it if Wyc [Grousbeck, the organization's managing partner] was talking about him in public.

"What they're saying about [Rondo] critically is actually an asset to him. He is feisty. He is competitive, yes. Last time I checked they won a world championship with him at point guard. If the team wasn't hurting they might have done it again this year. Rondo's tough love from Danny isn't necessary. He's self-motivated and a self-starter."

While saying Tuesday that no Celtics player is untradeable, Ainge insisted he wouldn't do anything that would make the team worse this season and that he isn't sour on Rondo. The Celtics have only one pick -- No. 58 -- in the draft Thursday night.

"That talk is so false," Ainge said. "We love the kid and we think he's got a very bright future. I don't anticipate any trades happening this offseason regarding any of our core players. ... We're certainly not doing anything this year to get a draft pick that's a developmental project, that's going to make it harder to win a championship this year."

Duffy said he and Ainge spoke Monday, and the agent told WEEI that Ainge "gave me every assurance that he wasn't moving [Rondo]. According to WEEI, Duffy hasn't requested that Rondo be traded.

"No, it's not to that point," Duffy said. "But if they choose to trade him, then that's their prerogative."

Still, after hearing what Ainge said on the radio about Rondo and knowing it's likely he'll be discussing a new contract with Ainge, Duffy said, "It doesn't sound like a glowing endorsement. You say you love him and then you are critical? You're certainly not recruiting him."

ALSO SEE