I guess Boston knew they had to rebuild already but now the Celtics are in for a full scale remodeling. Celtic’s General Manager Danny Ainge just pulled the trigger on shipping away Boston’s last piece from the Big 3 era: Rajon Rondo is now a Dallas Maverick. That is a great thing for Dallas fans, but we will get to that in a little bit. Right now, I want to look at the Celtics side of things.
The trade officially sends Rajon Rondo to the Mavericks in exchange for Jae Crowder, Jameer Nelson and Brandon Wright as well as a future first and second round draft pick. Boston might lose their superstar but it gains three competent veterans that can contribute and the draft picks allow them to continue building this young team. The Celtics already have some promising young players in Marcus Smart, Jared Sullinger and Kelly Olynek. There are a couple players who could still pan out in Evan Turner and Tyler Zeller as well. While Boston is still a while away from being a title contender again, adding Nelson, Crowder and Wright is a plus. And this team is still only half a game out of a playoff spot in the unbelievably weak Eastern Conference. Wright has been having a very consistent and efficient year contributing on both ends of the court. Nelson is a decent scoring option and does well distributing the ball. Crowder is young and cheap. Another piece Celtics’ coach Brad Stevens has a chance to mold. None of these guys are starters by any means but they are all solid role players who can contribute and make an NBA team better.
Now for the Mavericks’ side of the deal. Dallas managed to avoid giving up very much, the one that hurts the most is Wright because of his contributions on both ends. Nelson was not getting any better at 31 years old and Crowder was barely averaging 10 minutes a game. Mavericks’ General Manager/Owner Donnie Nelson managed to keep his team mostly intact and he landed an All-Star point guard. Rondo brings a little flare offensively to the Dallas Mavericks. He is not a great shooter as it is often pointed out but he is the best distributor in the NBA. And now you pair him up with the likes of Dirk Nowitzki, Monta Ellis and Chandler Parsons, Rondo will be dishing out more assist than ever. I think it will also make Rondo into a better offensive player because he will have to shoot less and he won’t be the center of attention for the defense. Rondo also gives Dallas a good perimeter defender. He is averaging 1.68 steals per game this year, good for 11th in the league this year. Hopefully, it will improve a Dallas defense that is allowing the seventh most points per game. Assuming there are no bumps in the transition, this makes the Mavericks a title contender in the West. Rondo is an upgrade of current starter J.J. Barea, who will still fill an important role off the bench for Dallas. Rondo is still only playing around 32 minutes per game meaning Barea will still see playing time.
This trade involves two teams going in very different directions. Boston continues to plunge into rebuild mode while Dallas just elevated itself to a top pick to win the rugged Western Conference and likely the NBA title this season. While that may be true, both teams benefited from this deal. Dallas landed their final assumed final piece to the puzzle and is poised to make a title run while Boston cashed in on Rondo while it still could, as he was likely to leave in free agency otherwise. Only time will tell who got the better end of the deal but right now, Dirk Nowitzki must be really happy he took that pay cut this summer to give the Mavericks flexibility with cap space. It is likely going to pay off with a deep playoff run this year. The interesting question is will Rondo stay will Dallas passed this season. But that is something to worry about later. For now, sit back and watch Rondo assist Nowitzki on one of his famous fadeaways. It will take a while to get used to that, especially for Boston fans.