Once again, the blowhards ruled in Boston. Once again, perception wasn't reality. At least for now.
The NBA draft came and went last night. And despite speculation that point guard Rajon Rondo would be dealt, he's a Celtic today.
So is former Tennessee-Martin shooting guard Lester Hudson, the 58th overall pick and Boston's only selection. It was, all in all, a boring evening.
"What are you guys doing awake?" Celtics executive director of basketball operations and general manager Danny Ainge shrugged in a post-draft conference call.
Sure Boston picked up the 6-foot-2, 190-pound Hudson, who averaged 27.5 points, 7.9 rebounds and 4.2 assists this season. Hudson, who'll turn 25 in August, was the second-leading scorer in the country to Davidson's Stephon Curry.
But Ainge knew he'd be answering more questions about Rondo than about his new acquisition.
To recap briefly: this week the C's GM made comments on WEEI's Dennis and Callahan about Rondo's need to "grow up" and cited the point guard's tardiness during the season as "unacceptable."
Celtics fans got nervous. Talk radio pounced. Media outlets across New England and beyond questioned Ainge's motives. Was he going to trade Rondo?
Ainge said no.
"It made for a better story," he said. "But I don't think I've said anything I haven't said before. We're not trading Rondo. We love Rondo. He's not perfect. He's a young player."
Then, he added, "And we don't like it when you're late."
I guess that's just Ainge. He's a needler who wants to make his budding star better. He also understands the rumor mill, which around here, is never without grist.
"There was many rumors that had my head scratching a little bit," Ainge said. "Most of them are either made up or completely distorted or three weeks late."
Ainge said he's spoken to Rondo since the GM's appearance on WEEI. A reporter asked how that went.
"Good," Ainge said. "I don't get the sense that he interprets things like everybody else does."
Bill Duffy, Rondo's agent, has already struck back, again on WEEI, saying, "I am just surprised that Danny is speaking, even if he considers it constructively, in a public setting (about Rondo). I don't think that it's appropriate to say that about one of your top players."
Of course Duffy's protecting his client. That's his job. But in the end, at least for now, Rondo, who's entering his fourth year in the NBA, is staying put.
"We're not trading Rondo," Ainge said again. "We love Rondo."
Then, at about 12:30 a.m., Ainge said goodbye.
"Danny Ainge," he said, "has left the building."
Mills doesn't fall far enough
Ainge said the Celtics were interested in St. Mary's guard Patrick "Patty'' Mills, but the Trailblazers scooped him up with the 55th overall pick.
Mills starred against the US in the 2008 Olympics.
A trade up, Ainge said, never materialized.
Ainge also didn't seem fazed by yesterday's trades that brought Vince Carter to the Orlando Magic and Shaquille O'Neal to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
"Vince is a great player," Ainge said. "I think that makes Orlando a strong team. I think the East is getting better."
It's unclear whether Eddie Hudson will play for Boston's summer league team (Ainge said the details haven't been worked out). And although pundits have compared Eddie House to Hudson, Ainge refrained from doing so.
"I don't think they're alike at all," Ainge said of Hudson, who set an Ohio Valley Conference single-season scoring record with 880 points this year.
Hudson, Ainge said, creates his own scoring opportunities.
"He's a tough kid," Ainge said. "I just like what I see on the court. He instigates physical play with the ball in his hands."
Odds and ends
Brookline native Jeff Adrien went undrafted. Ainge seemed to indicate that Boston was interested. "We do like Jeff, but I don't know yet." Ainge said. "I've got to be careful of what I say." ... In a head-scratching move, the Minnesota Timberwolves picked three point guards in the first round, Ricky Rubio from Spain at No. 5, Jonny Flynn out of Syracuse at No. 6 and Ty Lawson out of North Carolina at No. 18. They also got Lawson's UNC backcourt mate Wayne Ellington at No. 28. ... After months of speculation that Davidson's Stephen Curry was headed to the New York Knicks, the Golden State Warriors snatched him with the seventh overall pick, one ahead of New York.
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