Ainge says impending free agency sparked Rondo deal

Danny Ainge, Boston Celtics president of basketball operations. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

BOSTON (AP) — Danny Ainge says a major reason he traded Rajon Rondo to the Dallas Mavericks was the possibility the Boston Celtics would lose the star point guard in free agency after the season.

Boston’s president of basketball operations also says giving up the best player in the trade is not philosophically what the team likes to do.

The Celtics traded Rondo and forward Dwight Powell on Thursday night for Jameer Nelson, Jae Crowder, Brandan Wright, two draft picks and a $12.9 million trade exception. The three new Celtics were in town Friday night but not active for the game against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Ainge says the Celtics didn’t take a step back in their rebuilding process because they will have a lot of salary cap space, plenty of draft picks, young players who could be traded and the trade exception.

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