As the Dallas Mavericks were gleefully completing Thursday’s blockbuster trade that transformed Rajon Rondo into their starting point guard, they couldn’t help but notice the comparison between the eight-year veteran and Jason Kidd.
Both Kidd and Rondo have an insatiable desire to stockpile rebounds and assists, quarterback a flawless offense and be a pit bull on defense.
“I can see the parallels as far as two tough point guards, pass-first, gritty toughness,’’ center Tyson Chandler said. “They’re just selfless guys, guys that just simply want to pass the ball and don’t care about stats.’’
Rondo’s résumé as one of the NBA’s elite point guards in the mold of Kidd was why the Mavs pulled the trigger on the trade.
They acquired the Kentucky product and forward/center Dwight Powell from the Boston Celtics for center/forward Brandan Wright, forward Jae Crowder, point guard Jameer Nelson, a 2015 protected first-round pick, a 2016 second-round selection, and a $12.9 million trade exception.
Donnie Nelson, the Mavs’ president of basketball operations, acknowledged that Rondo’s aggressive play at both ends of the floor should help continue the lineage of quality point guards who have played for the team in recent years.
“We’ve been spoiled rotten in terms of point guards through the years with Steve Nash and Jason Kidd, and we understand here in Dallas how important quarterback play is,’’ Nelson said. “To have a chance to get one of the top premier point guards in the league at the age of 28 with a championship ring and four All-Star appearances is pretty unique and pretty special.
“We’ve paid a high price, but it was well worth it.’’
At 6-1 and 186 pounds, Rondo has been aware of the similarities between him and Kidd for quite some time. It was always reiterated to him by Danny Ainge, the Celtics’ president of basketball operations.
Rondo, who leads the league with 10.8 assists per game and three triple-doubles, hopes to start showcasing his extraordinary talents for Dallas when the Mavs host the defending NBA champion San Antonio Spurs at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at American Airlines Center.
“J-Kidd is a good friend of mine,’’ Rondo said during Friday’s news conference. “I’ve talked to J-Kidd in the past about being a young guy, and a lot of people have always compared us since Day One.
“Danny would always talk to me about how he coached J-Kidd and [Steve] Nash back in the day [at Phoenix in the 1990s], some of the similarities we had together, and what Mr. Nelson said as far as heart. [Kidd] did a lot of intangibles on the court to make his teammates and his team win games, so I would say I compare to that.’’
Kidd played for the Mavs — the second time around — from 2008-12 and figured prominently when they captured the 2011 NBA title. The Mavs are expecting similar leadership from Rondo, who will start against the Spurs.
“One of the other things I think that’s really interesting about [Rondo] and Jason Kidd is they’re two of the more resourceful guys you’re ever going to see in basketball,’’ coach Rick Carlisle said. “They just find ways to affect the game and help teams win.
“Guys like that you welcome into any situation.’’
Adding Rondo in a lineup that also includes Dirk Nowitzki, Chandler Parsons, Monta Ellis and Chandler gives the Mavs one of the most potent starting five in the NBA. With 55 games left, the Mavs intend to make life as comfortable as possible for Rondo during this transition period.
“We’ve got to make it easy for him as teammates,’’ Nowitzki said. “I know we’re going to tell him to do what he does, and that’s compete at the highest level at both ends of the floor, make his teammates better, find me a lot on the offensive end and he’ll be OK.
“Anytime you have a chance to grab a top point guard in this league you’ve got to go for it. I think he’s a competitor, a warrior, he plays hurt, and he’s a winner, so he brings a lot of great things.’’
Mostly, Rondo brings a Jason Kidd-like mentality to the court.
Dwain Price, 817-390-7760