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