Addition of Rajon Rondo solidifies Mavs’ starting five

Practice Report: Rick Carlisle

Mavs head coach Rick Carlisle reacts to the Rajon Rondo trade and looks ahead to Saturday's matchup against the Spurs.

DALLAS — With the addition of four-time All-Star point guard Rajon Rondo to bolster their backcourt, the Dallas Mavericks figure to feature one the most potent starting lineups in the NBA.

Thursday, the Mavericks (19-8) announced the acquisition of Rondo and center Dwight Powell from the Boston Celtics in exchange for backup big man Brandan Wright, reserve swingman Jae Crowder, starting point guard Jameer Nelson, a 2015 first-round pick and a 2016 second-round pick. And while Powell, the 45th overall pick by Charlotte in June’s draft, will attempt to add support to the Mavs’ front line behind starting center Tyson Chandler, it’s the addition of Rondo that is expected to instantly increase Dallas’ championship odds.

Rondo, an eight-year veteran that previously spent his entire career with the Celtics, garnered All-Defensive Team honors four times during that stint. The 6-foot-1 lead guard was also an All-NBA Third Team selection in 2012, bringing to Dallas championship experience after he helped lead the Celtics to the ’08 title.

Already rolling out the No.1 scoring offense in the league, which averages 110.1 points per game, the Mavericks will now try to integrate one of the top pass-first floor generals into the equation. And while joining a starting lineup that’s already featuring leading scorer Monta Ellis, 12-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki, new addition Chandler Parsons and Chandler, Rondo couldn’t contain his excitement as he took to Twitter to react to the trade.

“My time in Boston has meant so much,” Rondo posted. “I’ve grown up with this city both as a basketball player and person. The love I have for the most loyal and supportive fans in the league is unmatched. My teammates have shown nothing but heart the last couple of seasons. They are some of the hardest working guys I have played with and I wish them the best. I’ve experienced my most successful and challenging years with the Celtics, fans and city. The opportunity to play with guys like Dirk, Monta, Tyson and the young talent of Chandler is exciting. I look forward to building something special in Dallas.”

While the Mavs’ bench production could take a dip with the move of Wright and Crowder, the first unit is expected to be strengthened with Rondo in place of Nelson.

This season, Nelson is averaging a career-low 7.3 points and 4.1 assists while starting all 23 of his appearances for the Mavs. Nelson is also shooting just 37.4 percent from the field, the lowest percentage of his career. Vice versa, Rondo averaged 8.3 points and a league-best 10.8 assists in his 22 games for the Celtics, connecting on 40.5 percent from the field as he continues to battle back from reconstructive knee surgery that caused him to miss the second half of the ’12-13 season and the first half of last season.

For his career, Rondo holds averages of 11.0 points, 8.5 assists, 4.7 rebounds and 1.9 steals, making 474 starts in his 527 appearances. He also led the league in assists during both the ’11-12 and ’12-13 seasons, dishing out 11.7 and 11.1 an outing, respectively.

Rondo leaves the Celtics holding franchise records in assists for a season with 794 during the ’09-10 campaign, assists per game with 11.7 in ’11-12 and assists in a playoff game with 20 in 2011. All of which figures to only add to a Dallas offense that ranked seventh in the league while dishing out 23.6 assists a game as a team this season before the addition of the former All-Star.

And with Rondo expected to slide right into the vacant first-string point guard role vacated by the trade of Nelson, the Mavericks’ offense should continue to flourish en route to another championship chase.

Note: Returning to action at American Airlines Center on Saturday, the Mavericks will next play host to the defending NBA champion San Antonio Spurs. San Antonio leads the season series 1-0 after handing the Mavs a 101-100 road loss on Oct. 28. The game will air locally on Fox Sports Southwest at 7:30 p.m. CT. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by calling (214) 747-MAVS (6287) or by visiting Mavs.com.


Injury updates presented by Baylor Emergency Medical Centers:
Raymond Felton, right ankle, questionable

Raymond Felton Phone Interview

Raymond Felton Phone Conference

Listen in as newly-acquired guard Raymond Felton addresses the media regarding his trade to Dallas

Tyson Chandler Phone Interview

Tyson Chandler Phone Conference

Listen in as newly-acquired center Tyson Chandler addresses the media about his trade to Dallas

Tyson Chandler’s return sends shockwaves through Metroplex

Welcome Back Tyson Chandler!

The Mavs would like to welcome back NBA champion Tyson Chandler back to Dallas!

He’s baaaaaack.

Dallas on Wednesday reacquired former Maverick Tyson Chandler from the New York Knicks, along with point guard Raymond Felton.

During Chandler’s first and only season with the Mavericks in 2010-11, he anchored the defense of the NBA champions. You know the names that Chandler helped to slow down: LaMarcus Aldridge, Brandon Roy, Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum, Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh. Of course, Chandler was valuable to that title team for more reasons than just those pertaining to his on-court play. The big man was a vocal leader in the locker room, a favorite of Dirk Nowitzki’s, and a favorite of just about every Mavericks fan. We were all sad to see him go following that magical run to the title.

But he’s back now.

The Knicks’ asking price for the center was understandably high. At his best, Chandler is one of the premier defensive players in the NBA — he won the Defensive Player of the Year award for the 2011-12 season. To bring him back, Dallas had to part ways with starters Jose Calderon and Sam Dalembert, as well as last year’s first-rounder Shane Larkin, Wayne Ellington, and the team’s two second-round picks in Thursday’s draft.

Even considering what the Mavs traded away for Chandler, it’s important to keep in mind that heading into the postseason adding a starting-caliber center was near or at the top of Dallas’s to-do list. Dalembert enjoyed stretches of excellent play last season, but Chandler, who has one year and roughly $15 million left on his contract he inked with the Knicks in 2011, is the better player. And not only did the Mavs upgrade at the center spot, but they also did it without dramatically affecting their available salary cap space heading into free agency, which begins next week on July 1.

The combined salaries of the four players Dallas traded and what the team would have paid the two players selected at spots 34 and 51 in the draft add up to more than $16 million. Chandler’s contract combined with Felton’s totals approximately $19 million. In NBA terms, $3 million is a small price to pay for a player like Chandler, who at his best can be a dominant force on the defensive end — Tyson finished top-eight in win shares per 48 minutes each season from 2010-13. Felton, as well, can play a valuable role either in the starting lineup or as a backup at the point guard spot.

You can bet that Chandler’s old running mate Nowitzki is as excited about the deal as anyone else, even Skin Wade, whose reaction is a pretty good representation of every Mavs fan’s.

Nowitzki has longed to play next to a big man as effective as Chandler ever since he left the team following the 2011 season. Well, instead of signing a big man like Chandler, how about bringing him back instead? Before free agency has even started, Dallas has already addressed perhaps its most pressing need without significantly affecting cap space. That’s sure to make That Dude a very, very happy dude. Let’s not forget about Monta Ellis, either, who has a new toy to play with in the Mavs’ pick-and-roll offense. Ellis is at his best going downhill toward the rim with the option of passing to a rolling big man, and Chandler not only has the ability to set quality screens, but he also makes himself a target going to the hole. He has great hands for a player his size, as well.

The one knock against Chandler is concern regarding his health, as the center missed 27 games last season due to injury. But during his time in Dallas, Chandler never struggled through serious injury. He and Mavs head trainer Casey Smith have worked together before, both with the Mavericks and also with Team USA. If there’s one staff that can work with Chandler to avoid big health scares, it’s the Mavs’. Dallas can also add another big man in free agency to an already strong center rotation of Chandler and Brandan Wright if the Mavs see the need, as both Bernard James and DeJuan Blair are free agents. Retaining cap flexibility even when acquiring players with significant cap figures is a luxury that will serve Dallas well in multiple areas during the rest of the summer.

The Mavericks accomplished everything you’d hope a team could when pulling off a deal involving many pieces. Dallas added the rim-protecting center it needed desperately — who also happens to be a fan favorite — and a solid point guard who can either start or come off the bench, all while staying well under the salary cap. Now the Mavs can turn their attention to filling their other needs, which include backcourt depth and a perimeter defender. A Dirk/Monta/Tyson trio is as compatible and appealing as there is in basketball right now, which surely will make Dallas a desirable landing spot for some of the best free agents in the coming weeks. And unlike many other teams, Dallas already has the money and personnel to work with. Strong pieces are already in place at multiple positions. Now it’s time to add a few more.

Mavs acquire Tyson Chandler, Raymond Felton from Knicks

DALLAS — The Dallas Mavericks announced today that they have acquired former Maverick and 2011 NBA champion Tyson Chandler and guard Raymond Felton from the New York Knicks in exchange for center Samuel Dalembert, guards Jose Calderon, Wayne Ellington, Shane Larkin and two 2014 second-round picks.

Chandler (7-1, 240) was the starting center on the Mavericks’ 2011 NBA championship team and averaged 10.1 points and a team-high 9.4 rebounds while helping lead Dallas to its first NBA title. That season, he also earned NBA All-Defensive Second Team honors while shooting .654 from the field, which still ranks as the highest single-season field goal percentage in franchise history.

The 12-year veteran won a Gold Medal as a member of Team USA in the 2012 London Olympic Games and holds career averages of 8.7 points, 9.1 rebounds and 1.3 blocks in 845 games (648 starts) with Chicago, New Orleans, Charlotte, Dallas and New York.

The Southern California native was named NBA Defensive Player of the Year in 2012 while also earning All-NBA Third Team honors. In 2013, Chandler was a first-time NBA All-Star and was voted to the NBA All-Defensive First Team by coaches.

Felton (6-1, 205) averages 13.1 points, 6.5 assists, 3.3 rebounds and 1.4 steals over 667 career games (611 starts) with Charlotte, Denver, Portland and New York. In 2010-11, he put up career numbers for the Knicks averaging 17.1 points, 9.0 assists and 1.8 steals.

The University of North Carolina product was the fifth overall selection in the 2005 NBA Draft by the Charlotte Bobcats. In his rookie season, Felton averaged 11.9 points and 5.6 assists in 80 games (54 starts) while garnering NBA All-Rookie Second Team honors.