Ecstatic. That is the word Dallas Mavericks fans used when they heard that they got Rajon Rondo. This was a man who could help them get back to the promised land they have been chasing after the magical 2010 run, which saw them beat the newly formed Miami Heat team and win the NBA Championship. He was the final piece of the puzzle in Dallas and in theory would afford Dirk Nowitzki one more opportunity to make a playoff run. Rajon Rondo for a first round pick? That’s a no brainer. Well, it seemed like it at the time anyway.
Rondo was the man in Boston. The run he had alongside Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen, which culminated in a championship in 2008, was unbelievable. He thrived off of pick-and-rolls in which he could dish it for an assist, and averaged nearly 10 a game for his entire tenure in Beantown. He was beloved for his hard-nosed, blue collar, never-back-down attitude because Bostonians could relate to that. When he was traded earlier this year, the city mourned the loss of the last piece of that ’08 team. Now, I think I heard a collective sigh of relief from the Cask’n Flagon that the Celts did not waste money trying to extend his contract.
If I were a Dallas Mavericks fan right now, I would be furious with Rondo. He has drastically underperformed and has basically quit on his team. I’m not even a Mavs fan and that makes me mad. Rondo’s Game 2 back injury was the tip of the iceberg for his stretch in Dallas, which at one time included a profanity laced screaming match with coach Rick Carlisle after a regular season win over Toronto. Rondo has mailed it in this season, yet he still hopes to attract a max deal in the offseason. Mavericks fans, I’m very sorry for your wasted investment. Unfortunately, you can’t rebuild in the draft because you traded your first pick. But don’t fret, because Dirk and Tyson Chandler are going to retire soon and then you’ll be relegated to the draft lottery, so you’ve got that going for you, which is nice.
Before all you Laker and Knick fans get ideas about how great it would be to get Rondo at a discounted price, stop and think for a second. The Lakers are still Kobe’s team, which is not something that Rondo would want to deal with. They would also have to throw a very large amount of money at him, which would not be a good thing for a team that’s trying to jump on the “youth movement” bandwagon. He’s a cancer to locker rooms, and is not a guy you want mentoring younger players. The Knicks are not going to be good for at least five years, and adding an expensive point guard will not help them in the long run. Their best bet is to start cleaning house and getting younger, not get an overpriced, under-motivated guard who cannot shoot three’s or foul shots. Whether or not Phil Jackson will manage to completely screw up the draft is a story for another day.
When Rondo went to the Mavericks it seemed like they would be primed for a deep playoff run, but what they got instead was a poor first round performance by the man they were relying on the most. The ecstasy has turned to misery, and it’s all thanks to Rondo.