With a sheepish grin bulging muscles from an offseason workout program and nothing covering his surgically repaired right knee Rajon Rondo walked around the Celtics practice facility at media day Monday in surprisingly wonderful spirits.

If you recall basketball pundits said the Brad Stevens hire would never work unless he convinced No. 9 he was capable of coaching an NBA team. Otherwise that side of Rondo that has clashed with coaches and teammates the one who has been surly and mercurial would attempt to intimidate Stevens and would lack respect for the 36-year-old coach.

Instead the two have bonded. Rondo actually took his first major step as team leader last week and hosted a dinner for some of his teammates coaching staff and ownership.