No matter how things ended in Boston, Rajon Rondo always will be Celtics royalty. He helped win a championship here. He played through injury here. He enjoyed the best years of his NBA career here.
The same can’t be said for Rondo in Dallas, which is why the free-agent-to-be’s reported ultimatum to the Mavericks is puzzling at best and laughable at worst.
Rondo will not re-sign with the Mavericks “as long as the coach is back,” Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski reported Wednesday, citing league sources. After some noteworthy disagreements with Rick Carlisle, Rondo understandably wouldn’t want to play under a coach with whom he doesn’t see eye-to-eye.
Yet Rondo lacks the upper hand in Dallas, where Carlisle guided the Mavericks to the 2011 NBA Finals, resulting in a victory over LeBron James’ Miami Heat. Carlisle is one of the league’s top tacticians, and he has done a masterful job of integrating Monta Ellis into the Dallas system.
Ellis, like Rondo, came to the Mavs with a less-than-flowery reputation, but there has not been a hint of controversy regarding the 10-year veteran in Dallas.
Whatever the Mavs hoped to accomplish with their midseason trade, Rondo hasn’t lived up to them. Dallas’ top-ranked offense got worse after the Rondo acquisition, and the point guard was benched Tuesday after a number of eyebrow-raising plays in the Mavs’ Game 2 first-round playoff loss to the Houston Rockets.
Maybe in a different time, with a different team, under different circumstances, Rondo might have successfully positioned himself against the head coach and won. But the Mavs canning Carlisle to appease Rondo is almost as outlandish as them trading Dirk Nowitzki to keep No. 9 in Big D. In other words, prepare to see Rondo in different colors next season.
Thumbnail photo via Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images