The Big Mac Blog

There is a reason the Celtics gave away Rajon Rondo

Mavs head coach Rick Carlisle and point guard Rajon Rondo, during happier times.
Mavs head coach Rick Carlisle and point guard Rajon Rondo, during happier times. AP

UPDATE: The Dallas Mavericks have suspended point guard Rajon Rondo one game for his verbal spat with head coach Rick Carlisle in the team’s win against Toronto on Tuesday night.

The problem that is Rajon Rondo only surfaced for the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday night, but this guy has been a headache since long before the Boston Celtics dumped him for spare parts.

As much as I liked the deal and would do it again, there was a reason the Celtics gave him away. And they did - they gave him away.

The rebuilding Celtics acquired Jameer Nelson, Jae Crowder, Brandon Wright, two draft picks and a $12.9 million trade exception in that December deal. The only player remaining on the Celtics roster from that deal is Crowder. They dealt Nelson for veteran journeyman Nate Robinson. The Celtics traded Wright to the Suns for a pair of draft picks, one of which is a second rounder and the other likely will be another second rounder as well.

In the NBA, that’s nothing. The Celtics received nothing of immediate value in return for an All-Star point guard under 30.

The Mavs now know why.

In the Dallas Mavericks’ win against the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday night in Dallas, Rondo and Mavs head coach Rick Carlisle got into a heated exchange in the second half. Apparently, Rondo was not running the offense Rick wanted. As a result, Rondo did not return to the game.

This is not the first time Carlisle has yelled at guys, and it will not be the last. Carlisle said in his postgame news conference this issue is over and done. Lots of coaches and players blow up and yell at each other during a long season, so there is that chance this is just an isolated incident and both parties will move on.

A chance. But this is not the first time Carlisle has benched his starting point guard, who since being acquired from the Celtics has clearly not fit in offensively. The problems projected at the time of the deal have come to fruition. Rondo can’t shoot, and unless he has his hands on the ball at all times he can’t be effective. The Mavs are a flow offense, and he has struggled to find his place on the floor.

Rondo has been a solid addition defensively, and at times both he and the offense look like they can make this work. Then there are moments like Tuesday night when optimism about this deal working the way the Mavs envisioned vanish.

Rondo is in the final year of his contract, and if he is so upset and so inclined his immediate leverage is to just shut it down and mail it in. Some team - such as the Lakers - will pay him in free agency regardless of how he behaves with the Mavs.

Carlisle is not the type of coach to give up on a player, and he has the full support of his owner. If it comes down to Carlisle or Rondo, Cuban will pick the head coach. In a player’s league such as the NBA, that happens as frequently as Haley’s Comet.

Carlisle and Rondo are a pair of headstrong individuals who both want to win, and do things their way. Carlisle can rub people raw with his personality, and Rondo is just one of those guys who is with you, but is difficult.

These two will figure it out for the sake of the season, and the team, but now the Mavs know what they are dealing with. There is a reason the Celtics gave him away.

Mac Engel, 817-390-7760

Twitter: @macengelprof

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