This season had always felt surreal, somehow.
I remember watching the season opener, and being so pumped by the video. It felt like, oh yeah the Celtics are back! It was finally game time.
And then, I realised Rondo wasn’t in that video. At all.
Why wasn’t the captain inside? Rondo, maestro of the amazing and unpredictable? Surely he would have gotten more time on the video than any other player on the team?
Obviously, this clip didn’t show us the full video, as the camera panned to the players at times. It felt like something was wrong however. I remember discussing this with Mike and Justin last month, and it was dismissed as conspiracy talk.
From Rondo being named team captain, to his constant comments about wanting to stay in Boston. They were reassuring signs, but it always felt unreal. It felt like a PR strategy.
It felt like Danny had told Rondo, “Do your best this season, and let’s put a positive face on the season. Put your best foot forward, and so long as you show yourself to be committed to the team publicly, I promise we’ll get you into a good situation.”
Logic: Rondo is in his prime, and there’s no reason why he should waste some of the best years of his life on a rebuilding team.
I simply couldn’t align logic to reality. It didn’t make sense. Loyalty is great and all, but the skeptic in me just refused to believe it.
Fast forward to the breaking of the Rondo trade, courtesy of Adrian Woj as always.
I’d dismissed the rumour as yet another unfounded piece of talk on Twitter earlier, but it gained traction. When Woj says it, you tend to listen harder. It was hard, seeing the discussion progress. And harder, to realise the unease I had all along, was becoming reality.
The Boston Celtics announced today that they have acquired guard Jameer Nelson, forward Jae Crowder, forward/center Brandan Wright, a conditional first round draft pick, a 2016 second round draft pick and a $12.9 million trade exception from the Dallas Mavericks in exchange for guard Rajon Rondo and forward Dwight Powell.
2015 first round draft pick from Dallas
Dallas’ 1st round pick to Boston protected for selections 1-3 and 15-30 in 2015 and 1-7 in 2016 [Boston-Dallas, 12/18/2014]
Is it me, or does this trade not sound like it’s a typical Danny deal?
There will be plenty of trade analysis columns out there, but my gut says Nelson/Crowder/Wright and lottery protected picks does not equal to Rondo.
Neither does it address a need. Having a big man like Wright would be great, but I’m summing it all up as a deal to move an underperforming Rondo who could not be counted on to sign next season, in exchange for picks and loose pieces to a destination better suited for him.
For the Celtics, this is a disappointing deal on the surface — but only on the surface. You can cherry-pick other recent deals for expiring and semi-expiring contracts that netted better return, but the circumstances are never equivalent. The Magic got more for Dwight Howard, but he’s Dwight Howard. Rajon Rondo is not Dwight Howard.
The market just wasn’t there. It’s easy to criticize Boston for waiting too long, and it was indeed asking two and even three first-rounders for Rondo over the last year or so, per multiple league sources. But the Celtics weren’t getting more than this in the end.
Trading Rondo now, a few months from the end of his contract, is too late for Boston to get a fat trade return. Rondo’s knee injury obliterated the sweet spot — the two-years-away trade Utah made with Deron Williams.
It sooths the mind a little, knowing there was a chance we got the best of whatever the market offered.
*Relevant reading: Important Details from the Rajon Rondo Trade
My time in Boston has meant so much. I’ve grown up with this city both as a basketball player and a 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’ve played with and I wish them the best. I’m happy to have experienced my most successful and challenging years with the Celtics organization, fans and city. The opportunity to play with guys like Dirk, Monta, Tyson, and the young talent of Chandler is very exciting and I look forward to building something special in Dallas.
– From Rondo’s Facebook page
For now, let us just remember Rondo and the amazing moments from years long gone.
Thank you for being a Celtic. It meant a lot to all of us, and I hate saying goodbye. Watching KG, Truth, Perk, Ray and yourself at the TD Garden remains one of my fondest memories, and I’m glad I got got to see you guys before the era ended.
Seeya around, RR.