This past week, the Boston Celtics said goodbye to the only remaining player on their 2008 championship team. Boston finally pulled the trigger and dealt Rajon Rondo to the Dallas Mavericks. Previously, Kendrick Perkins was shipped to Oklahoma and Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Jason Terry were sent to Brooklyn and then scattered around a bit; and Ray Allen took his talents to South Beach and won another title there. Rondo was the only one left, and now he is playing half way across the country.
The Celtics traded Rondo and rookie Dwight Powell to the Dallas Mavericks for Brandan Wright, Jae Crowder, Jameer Nelson, and a handful of future draft picks. How did this deal work out for both teams?
Boston Celtics: The Celtics acquired a handful of pieces, some salary dumps and some keepers, for their beloved point guard, as fans were clearly disappointed to see Rondo go, but basketball is a business and feelings have to be put aside. For years, Rondo has shown interest in leaving Beantown in order to help grow a developing program. There was no way he was re-signing in Boston, not even for a max deal, because plenty of other teams would have gladly paid him the max as well. So the Celtics shopped around a bit and found this deal as an opportunity to grow. They received numerous draft picks, to give themselves seven first round picks through 2018 for 12 picks total in those drafts along with some solid building blocks in Brandan Wright and Jae Crowder. Wright, who ranks 6th in the league in PER and 1st in field goal percentage, was a key component to the Mavericks’ unstoppable offense. He will help the Celtics’ invisible interior offense and can help out some of the younger centers that Boston is trying to make their centerpieces (Olynyk and Sullinger). Crowder is 24 years old and has been fighting for a spot in a crowded Dallas frontcourt. He was getting virtually no playing time in Big-D and even spent some time in the D-League but Crowder should receive a chance to grow under veteran Jeff Green. As for Rondo, he is a rare talent, but he is not playing like the Rondo that we had come to know. He is struggling with his shot and shot 33.3% from the free throw line while he was still in Green. Danny Ainge got a decent deal for Rondo, and is ready to begin the rebuild once and for all.
Dallas Mavericks: Jameer Nelson, Monta Ellis, Chandler Parsons, Dirk Nowitzki, Tyson Chandler. Spot the weak position? Adding Rajon Rondo was a genius move by the Mavericks, filling the void left at point guard and enhancing the already majestic offense Rick Carlisle has bestowed upon them. The Mavericks were already leading the league in points per game, at about 110. Now with Rondo in the lineup, they are nearly perfect offensively and can finally be considered contenders to the trophy. Yes, they gave up Brandan Wright and a few draft picks, but they are capitalizing on Dirk’s elite years before he grows too old. In my opinion, this moved molded the Mavs into a more complete and smooth offense. I am already salivating over the thought of a Rondo pick and pop with Dirk or a Rondo alley-oop to Chandler. The Western conference is as competitive as ever, and this move should boost Dallas to one of the conference’s elite. Dallas will now start a quest for another title. Let the games begin, Dallas, let the games begin.