Celtics

Celtics

It’s reunion week for Sacramento Kings guard Rajon Rondo, beginning tonight against the Dallas Mavericks and concluding on Thursday against the Boston Celtics.

Considering how quickly things went south in Dallas for Rondo, you would think that exacting a bit of revenge on the Mavericks would be one of his main objectives.

But when asked if playing against Dallas would bring about any special emotions, Rondo shut down that line of thought quickly.

“No,” he told the Sacramento Bee. “It’s not Boston. It’s not a big deal.”

Rondo spent 46 games with the Mavericks after the Celtics traded him in December along with Dwight Powell in exchange for Brandon Wright, Jameer Nelson, a conditional first-round pick and a throw-in player named Jae Crowder who by the way, has been the most impactful player in the deal for either team.

His time in Dallas was far from memorable, both for him and the Mavericks organization.

Rondo and head coach Rick Carlisle clashed on more than one occasion. The last straw came in Game 2 of the playoffs against the Houston Rockets. Rondo was whistled for an eight second violation in the first half and soon after that, gave up a wide open 3-point shot to ex-Celtic Jason Terry.

Rondo played just 34 seconds in the second half, picking up two personal fouls and a technical foul in that span. Shortly after that, he was sent to the bench and did not return for the game because of a "back injury."

Carlisle would later tell reporters that Rondo would never play in a Mavericks uniform again.

There were ups and downs during Rondo’s final years in Boston, but his eight-plus seasons with the Celtics was for the most part a positive experience.

He was the team’s starting point guard on the 2008 NBA title team, and would later go on to be named an NBA All-Star four times.

But following a torn ACL injury in January of 2013, Rondo was never the same player upon his return. Known for his explosiveness at getting to the rim, the 6-foot-2 playmaker never regained that ability to consistently make plays around the basket.

And when the Celtics used the No. 6 pick in the 2014 NBA draft to select guard Marcus Smart, it was clear that Rondo’s days in Boston were numbered.

But to his credit, Rondo’s health is as close to pre-ACL injury as we have seen. And he has the numbers to back it up, averaging a league-best 11.0 assists per game along with 12.4 points and 7.3 rebounds.

There are many throughout the NBA who believe the 29-year-old is playing his way into a max or near-max contract next summer when he becomes a free agent.

Among those who believe this to be true?

His former coach, Rick Carlisle.

“He’s a max player next year,” Carlisle told reporters. “Someone’s going to have to back up the truck to get him.”