Celtics surprised by Rondo’s finish in Dallas


VIDEO: Charles and Kenny are on board with the Mavericks parting ways with Rajon Rondo

BOSTON — Whatever issues led to Rajon Rondo and Rick Carlisle butting heads in Dallas were somehow avoided in Boston with the Brad Stevens.

Stevens, the Celtics coach, admitted to being a bit surprised that Rondo’s time in Dallas seems to have to come to an ugly finish.

Rondo has been ruled out for the remainder of the team’s postseason run, technically by a “bad back.” But his conflicts with Carlisle have been well documented, the latest coming in the Mavericks’ Game 2 loss to Houston Tuesday, when Rondo was benched in favor of Ray Felton and J.J. Barea.

Rondo was solid in 22 games with Boston this season before he and Dwight Powell were traded to the Mavericks for Jameer Nelson, Jae Crowder, Brandan Wright, a first-round pick, a second-round pick and a trade exception. He averaged 8.3 points and at the time a league-leading 10.8 assists.

“I felt like Rajon had played really well at the start of the year,” Stevens said. “I had coached him during a really tough time for him, simply because last year he was just coming back from that ACL tear and not having any practice, which is really unique, and so it was just a matter of him getting the feel a little bit better. I was around him a lot this summer. I was around him a lot this fall. He had the unfortunate hand break at the start of the season and it put him a little bit behind again. But I thought he played pretty well here, so yeah, I was a little bit surprised.”

Celtics boss Danny Ainge, a longtime Rondo advocate, admitted his surprise at the drama that’s gone down in Dallas in a local radio (98.5 the Sports Hub’s “Toucher & Rich”) show earlier this week:

“I’m very surprised,” Ainge said. “I thought it would be a good fit for the Mavericks and Rajon. I don’t really know what’s going on down there. I read a little bit (Wednesday) and heard some things, but I’m very surprised. I thought it would work out well for both people.”

“I don’t know what’s going on down there,” Ainge said. “Rajon was terrific here with coach (Brad) Stevens. I think they got along. The whole question is, Rondo was good this year for us. He worked really hard in the offseason. I really did think it was going to be a big year for him, and Rajon just hasn’t played as well, for whatever reason, as he hoped and as we had hoped and as the Mavericks had hoped.”

Rondo will be a free agent this summer, so he’ll have the opportunity to start somewhere fresh for the 2015-16 season. But this residue of this tumultuous season will no doubt travel with him, wherever he goes.

That said, Carlisle and the Mavericks stand by the deal.

Carlisle told a Dallas radio station Thursday that it was a risky move, but one worth taking.

“In the case of anything, there is risk, but there are risks worth taking,” Carlisle said Thursday on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM. “That trade was a risk worth taking. We all agreed on that. Now, we’re at a point where, hey, it’s time to move on.”

7 Comments

  1. Indiana'sownLarryBird says:

    Rondo needs to be on a team that likes to fast break,

  2. nba fan says:

    that’s a proof of Danny Ainge intelligence, he knew it, he was just pretending.

  3. Michael says:

    Rondo isn’t the player he was; he never will be(knee injury).There are no players like Ray Allen, KG, or Paul Pierce to make him look like one of the best point guards in the league. The only person stupid enough to waste money on him is Jim Buss. Hopefully, when he and Kobe get hurt next year, Buss will resign his post as the failure he is. Ironically this could be the only way to put the Lakers on the upswing. We’ll see how much Buss has learned from his experience with Phil Jackson, Dwight Howard, Steve Nash, and Kobe; I bet nothing ( i hope I’m wrong).

  4. parkmanor22 says:

    JAMES HARDEN IS THE MVP, NOT CURRY!

  5. parkmanor22 says:

    Carlisle is bad news for Players.

    Most Players donot like Carlisle and donot like to PLAY FOR HIM.

  6. Bu says:

    Celtics or anyone in the league will not say things bad about each other. It’s an unwritten rule / courtesy. They all just want to earn a good living and no bitter enemies. From following Rondo all these yrs, he does have attitude problems. Big 3 don’t say it out loud until recent interview of Pierce exposed it a little.

    Carlise & Mavs use a system that works well for the current players. Rondo clearly is a misfit, and clearly he was not comfortable in the system. He’s a free agent anyway so he has no need to put up with this if Carlise is not going to change. Mavs will NOT and shouldn’t change because of Rondo’s style of play. So is a gamble failed for Mavs, time to move on, forget this yrs’ playoffs.

  7. C4 says:

    When the trade happened, I was also one of the ones saying this is a pretty good move for the Mavs. He’s a great defensive guard, playing for a good defensive coach, without enough offense around him to prevent double teams. I think the problem maybe that you have too many people who are too use to having the balk in their hands that it throws them off to have to play off the ball