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Celtics coach Brad Stevens says Rajon Rondo is ‘anxious’ for a new year

 Rajon Rondo #9 of the Boston Celtics is seen playing against the Toronto Raptors in the second half after receiving 9 stitches from a cut on his face in the second half during the game at TD Garden on March 26, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts
Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

The Boston Celtics front office has promised some fireworks this offseason and with trade rumors constantly swirling regarding the team possibly bringing in All-Star power forward Kevin Love, the Celtics could be entering a new season with a very interesting roster. Head coach Brad Stevens is just concerned about his present roster and that includes captain Rajon Rondo. On Wednesday Stevens talked about his All-Star point guard and the leadership he expects him to provide next season.

After leading the team’s latest draft workouts at HealthPoint, the young head coach addressed the media about Rondo and the improvements he has made since returning from an ACL injury that kept him out half of the 2012-13 season. He told reporters, “I think Rajon – and I’m saying this from my own opinion – but I think he’s anxious to get back out there and to get back out playing. You can tell that from his work ethic. He has been with our small groups a lot in the last 8-10 days. That’s not always the case with a guy as seasoned and accomplished as him.”

Rondo only played 30 games last season. He played those games amidst a little controversy and constant trade rumors that continue to surface even though the team and Rondo have openly expressed a desire to keep the shifty point guard in Boston. His excitement about the upcoming season may depend on those big moves the team and even Rondo has promised. It is also a season which Stevens expects a more healthy Rondo.

“He only played 30 games this year and I don’t think he ever felt like he was as good as he truly could be, at least game to game to game, stringing multiple games together. That was in large part due to coming back [from ACL surgery]. Now he’s had a little bit more time to strengthen, to get in the weight room, to work on his skill stuff. I think he looks great, first of all. Physically, he looks fantastic, and he’s been working hard, and that sets a great tone for the younger guys that come in. That’s really helpful.”

But what such a young team needs is a mentally prepared Rondo. They need a focused veteran who will lead despite losing woes. They need a captain who will instill the importance of hard work on both ends of the court. They need someone who will lead by example. If Rondo is indeed that player, Stevens believes he will have a team that will “be even better.” Kevin Love and a couple more pieces could also help that process.

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