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The Dallas Mavericks are thinking “win now.” The Boston Celtics are thinking “eh, win later.” And with those things in mind, the teams completed a five-player deal on Thursday that sent point guard and four-time NBA all-star Rajon Rondo to the Mavericks.
Only A Game’s Doug Tribou spoke with Bill Littlefield about the deal.
BL: Let’s start with the details of the trade.
DT: Well, the big, star name here is Rondo for Dallas. Boston's getting guard Jameer Nelson, forward Jae Crowder and Brandan Wright, a big man, from Dallas. But the stars for them will probably be these draft picks. One for the first round in 2015 and another for the second round in 2016.
BL: The Mavericks won the only championship in franchise history back in 2011. Some of the core players from that team are on the Dallas roster today — including future Hall of Famer Dirk Nowitzki and center Tyson Chandler. What does the addition of Rondo give the Mavs?
[sidebar title="Kobe Vs. MJ: Grant's Take" width="630" align="right"]Horace Grant won four NBA titles. Bill Littlefield spoke with Grant about two of his former teammates: Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan, the man Bryant just passed on the all-time scoring list.[/sidebar]DT: Rondo gives them a top-flight point guard who can distribute to all of these guys on the Mavs' offense who can score. They have Monta Ellis who is scoring more than 20 points a game this season. They've got Nowitzki. They have a whole host of players that can put the ball in the hoop. They need a guy to get it to them.
And when they won that title they had Jason Kidd. Jason Kidd could pass and he could rebound — something unusual for a small point guard. Rondo is the same way. He is excellent in both of those categories. He doesn't need to score, which is sort of his weak point with an erratic jump shot. But when he is distributing the ball, this offense, I think, is going to get better.
BL: The Celtics had named Rondo the 15th captain in team history last year. How is he going to fit into a team that's loaded with star power already?
DT: That will be interesting to watch. Rondo was very young when he won a title with the new Big Three in Boston with Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen. Now he's a veteran. He was in this captaincy role, this leadership role and he's coming into this well-established franchise. I think he'll fit in because he has strong personalities around him. And they're very likely to be in the running for a title at some point in the next year or two if he stays there.
BL: The Mavericks had a 19-8 record when this trade was announced. How much better do they have to be to contend?
The window for them to win a second title with this core group is closing, and they’re making a run at it.Doug Tribou, Only A Game
DT: That's the trouble with the Western Conference — 19-8 is just good for sixth in the Western Conference at the time of the trade. If the Dallas Mavericks were in the Eastern Conference only one team, Toronto, would have more wins than they do. So the Mavs, to keep up, feel like they have to have a win-now mentality. And Dirk Nowitzki is 36. Tyson Chandler is 32. The window for them to win a second title with this core group is closing, and they're making a run at it.
BL: Boston, of course, in a very different situation — Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, and Paul Pierce long gone. The Celtics were awful last year. They haven’t been much better this year. What are the short-term and long-term impacts of this trade for Boston?
DT: The short-term impact is that they are much less watchable. They lost the only must-watch guy on the floor, Rajon Rondo. In the long term this is part of the rebuilding process. This is the new NBA. Get rid of your stars after the success is over and start from the ground up. That's what they're doing. They hope that the picks turn into something. And they're hoping for success two, three, four years down the road. These guys they've gotten will not be in Boston for long.
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This segment aired on December 20, 2014.
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