Rondo wants another title run in move to Dallas
Dec. 20, 2014
DALLAS (AP) — Rajon Rondo wants another ring and another parade and knew it probably wasn't happening anytime soon with the rebuilding Celtics.
When he was on his way to Dallas with Mavericks owner Mark Cuban as the centerpiece of a five-player trade, championship talk dominated the conversation.
The deal sends the four-time All-Star point guard from the fringe of the playoffs in the Eastern Conference with Boston to solidly in the mix in the tougher West, where the Mavericks were showing signs of returning to title contention but looking like they might be missing a piece.
In their view, that piece comes in the form of the NBA's assists leader with a reputation as a solid defender and rebounder. In other words, one of the league's few triple-double threats.
"To be a contender right away, there's a goal that you have in mind and I'm dying to get a ring again," Rondo said at his introductory news conference Friday. "I want another parade."
The ninth-year player got his first with the Celtics in 2008, and now Rondo is joining 2011 champs Dirk Nowitzki and Tyson Chandler as part of the nucleus of a Dallas team trying to win another title.
Rondo and center Dwight Powell were acquired Thursday for center Brandan Wright, forward Jae Crowder, point guard Jameer Nelson, a first-round draft pick in 2015 and a second-round choice in 2016.
Long the subject of trade rumors, Rondo was in his second season of a full rebuilding mode in Boston following the departures of Ray Allen, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. He also missed parts of two seasons to have reconstructive knee surgery.
"Well, it's been about seven years now and I've been in trade rumors," said Rondo, who has career averages of 11 points, 8.5 assists and 4.7 rebounds. "Bound to happen."
The news came in a phone call from Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge, a former teammate of Dallas coach Rick Carlisle. Rondo said they talked for about 45 minutes after the deal was settled and "it was no hard feelings."
"I believe it's a great legacy I leave behind," said Rondo, who was the 21st overall pick out of Kentucky by Phoenix in 2006 and shipped to Boston in a draft-day deal. "I can't remember one bad time I had in Boston as far as where I got negative feedback from fans, no matter the first year we lost 18 straight or the following year we won a championship."
For Mavericks fans, the trade is reminiscent of a 2008 deal that brought point guard Jason Kidd back to Dallas. It took a coaching change and several seasons, but the deal eventually paid off with a title.
Rondo joins a coach in Carlisle who has dealt with several makeovers of the roster since winning the franchise's only title, and Carlisle is more than happy to tweak again.
"I view Rondo as an extremely resourceful guy with a lot of ability," Carlisle said. "He's a guy that loves winning. We'll figure it out. I'd rather be charged with the task of figuring it out with guys of that competitiveness and ability level."
Carlisle said simplicity would be part of the formula, and Nowitzki has a pretty simple solution.
"Find me a lot on the offensive end and he'll be OK," the 36-year-old said with a smile.
The biggest question is how Rondo will mesh with backcourt mate Monta Ellis, who has flourished as a playmaker with the ball in his hands but now has someone next to him with a similar style.
"At times I'm going to have the ball," Rondo said. "At times he's going to have the ball and I have to learn how to play alongside Monta. I'll pick up his game really fast."
Owner Mark Cuban envisions them playing together a long time. While Ainge was in Boston saying he traded Rondo because he didn't want to risk losing him for nothing in free agency this summer, Cuban said he intended to keep what he called a young core of Rondo, Ellis and Chandler Parsons.
"Obviously, we wouldn't give up picks if we didn't think it was long term," Cuban said. "We're past the days of rent-a-player. We want him to be here for a long time and we want to earn his desire to stay here."
Winning championships is the surest way.
Follow Schuyler Dixon on Twitter at https://twitter.com/apschuyler