If there were any indication that Celtics team president Danny Ainge was planning on putting together an intentionally bad team next year, it would be evidenced by the way he handles point guard Rajon Rondo who, strange as it may be to say, is not only the sole remaining link to the ’08 championship team, but also the ’10 Finals team.

A source told Sporting News on Monday that, while Ainge gets calls on Rondo regularly, he has no intention of trading him, but rather, wants to see how Rondo operates as the team leader without Pierce and Garnett around.

As one opposing general manager put it, “I don’t think Danny has made a single call about Rondo. He has gotten calls. But it would be wrong to say he has considered shopping him.”

And Rondo is perfectly happy to be part of the Celtics going forward. He has not issued a trade demand or a request or even so much as a trade inquiry, a source told Sporting News. He has no incentive to do so. In fact, Rondo welcomes the challenge of taking over the new-look Celtics, however things might pan out.

Though he only played 38 games for the Celtics last season, Rondo did technically lead the league in assists, with 11.1 per game, his second straight year as the league leader and his third straight season with an average of at least 11 assists.