Rajon Rondo’s controversial tenure with the Dallas Mavericks has permanently ended.
Coach Rick Carlisle announced Wednesday afternoon at American Airlines Center that he didn’t think the embattled point guard will play for the Mavs again. That ends Rondo’s chaotic 48-game excursion with the Mavs after they acquired the nine-year veteran from the Boston Celtics in a blockbuster trade Dec. 18.
Officially, the Mavs are saying Rondo is out indefinitely after he suffered a back injury early in the first quarter of Tuesday’s 111-99 playoff loss to the Houston Rockets. Carlisle also said Rondo will not be around the team for now, and will be seeking medical advice.
“He sustained a back injury basically at the 11-minute mark of the first quarter [Tuesday] night,” Carlisle said. “He attempted to take a charge on James Harden, hit the ground and from that point going forward probably should not have played any more, but he did.
“He wasn’t able to play his game or play as well as he can play. Today, it’s not good, so he is going to seek additional opinions. That’s where things are at with him.”
When asked if he thinks Rondo will wear a Mavs uniform again, Carlisle said: “No, I don’t.”
That’s a blunt way of saying the Mavs will not make Rondo an offer when he becomes a free agent on July 1. The marriage was short-lived and may have been headed to divorce court Feb. 24, when Rondo and Carlisle publicly exchanged curse words during a game against the Toronto Raptors.
The Mavs suspended Rondo for one game without pay for conduct detrimental to the team after that exchange.
Fast-forward almost two months later, and Rondo played only an uneventful 9 minutes, 55 seconds Tuesday against Houston. He finished with four points, four fouls, a technical foul, and didn’t play again after being taken out 34 seconds into the second half.
He was replaced after committing two fouls against the Rockets’ Harden and being called for a technical.
In the first quarter, Rondo was called for an 8-second backcourt violation, followed by Houston’s Jason Terry being left open for a 3-pointer. Rondo was benched 40 seconds later.
An injury was never made known to the media during Carlisle’s postgame news conference Tuesday.
“I understand that the announcement that’s been made is going to have different interpretations,” Carlisle said. “I am giving you our interpretation of it, and this is fact.
“From here, we’re moving forward. We’ve got a series to win and we’ve got to win Game 3 with the guys that are available.”
Asked if he knew Rondo was injured in the first half of Tuesday’s game, Carlisle said: “I was aware at halftime that his back was bothering him. We’re talking about a guy that at one time played with an elbow that was bent backwards. I mean, this is a guy that’s been extremely tough.
“He’s a very proud guy and he’s going to try to play through pain. That’s just been his pattern, that’s been his history, and it’s one of the things that’s made him a guy that’s very admired in this league.”
That admiration apparently has reached its limit with the Mavs, who were 26-22 in the games Rondo played in and 19-8 before they acquired him.
“The fact that today that there is an injury, that’s not good for him, it’s not good for us,” Carlisle said. “But we’ve got to move forward and we’ve got to deal with it.”
Rondo is known as a head-strong player who often clashes with his coaches. In March, he said he believes he’s clashed with every coach he’s played for.
“I like Rondo — I do,” Carlisle said. “My relationship with him was professional, we learned a lot going through this — trying to make this thing work.
“And the fact that it manifest now with there being an injury and everything is something that we didn’t want. He is seeking additional medical opinions. For now, he will not be around the team.”
Dwain Price, 817-390-7760
A tale of two Rondos
Rajon Rondo’s averages in 92 postseason games with the Celtics compared to his two games with the Mavericks: