While the Celtics are here at the NBA draft combine primarily to identify people they might like to add to their team, it’s fair to assume they’ll also be examining which present players will stay and go.

We’ve been told that Washington isn’t presently interested in Jeff Green at his numbers ($9.2 million next year and a player option for the same in 2015-16), and that a number of teams are waiting to see where the Celts land in the lottery before entering into different deal discussions.

But what we’ve been hearing for a while and in more concerted tones here is that Rajon Rondo may be more available now than ever before. Danny Ainge yesterday dismissed a report that the Knicks had turned down a deal for the All-Star point guard as “maybe the most ludicrous thing I’ve ever heard.”

The Celts’ president of basketball operations, as well, dismissed talk of Rondo’s obtainability.

“That’s all speculation,” Ainge said. “Those aren’t facts. People don’t know that, so it’s just people speculating on Rondo’s free agency next summer. That’s all that you’re hearing. You’re not hearing any facts from anybody. Those conversations haven’t even been discussed, so that’s just speculation.”

Ainge acknowledged as he took the Celtics into a remodeling phase last year the need for the club to make significant strides to entice Rondo to remain. But as he tries to accomplish that goal in this draft and through summer dealings (trades, free agents), he feels no additional burden.

“We love Rondo, and Rondo loves us,” Ainge said. “We don’t feel like there’s pressure that we have to do something or there’s some sort of deadline that something has to get done by. You know, sure Rondo has to see progress and Rondo has to believe that we’re going to be contenders and be in the picture and have something. But that’s an ongoing thing. I mean, we feel that way with everybody.”

And he sees Rondo, in and of himself, as one of the improvements.

“I’ve said many times, Rondo’s going to have the best year of his career next year,” Ainge said. “I truly believe that. I mean, he looks great right now. He’s in the workout room every day. He’s shed his knee brace. He looks like the young Rajon. You know, he’s back. His athleticism is completely back. He’s stronger than ever, shooting better than ever. He’s matured a lot as a leader. I mean, I think he’s playing better than he’s ever played.”

The fact he’s still talking about the 28-year-old Rondo maturing as a leader eight years into his career is concerning to some, but not to Ainge.

“No,” he said, “I think the same thing happened with Paul (Pierce). I think Paul was way more of a leader at age 30 by far than he was at 27. And at 32 he was way more of a leader than he was at 30. I think Paul was a great player but was not a great leader earlier in his career, and I think Rajon is similar. I mean, he’s maturing all the time, and I don’t think that’s uncommon for a guy not to be a born leader and still be a great player and then understand leadership later. There are some guys that are great leaders in their rookie years, but most guys have to learn.

“I’m not concerned about that. I mean, it is what it is. I think there’s a lot of great players that aren’t great leaders. But Rajon’s getting better.”