Rajon Rondo, for much of the Celtics season opener against the Heat, felt he wasn’t getting the calls when he drove the lane, particularly on contact with Dwyane Wade. So with the game out of reach in the final minute, a frustrated he gave a little of what he felt he was getting to Wade.
“I mean, I don’t think it was a hard foul. [Wade] sold it a little bit, and that’s basketball. They were up, he drove to the hole, I didn’t want to give up a layup. Simple as that. I didn’t yank him down, or, dirty plays that you’ve seen him play in the past. So that’s what it is.”
It’s pretty clear Rondo was referring to the play in the playoffs a couple years back where Wade and Rondo got tangled up and went to the ground and Rondo ended up with his elbow bent backwards. An injury that took Rondo a long time to recover from. This feud has some history to it.
This Celtics vs. Heat feud — whether it is Rondo and Wade or Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen — is going to go on all season. But if the Celtics want real revenge there is only one way to get it, and in that first game Miami showed Boston where the benchmark is.
Last year, Russell Westbrook had a historic season on his way to the MVP award, with James Harden and Kawhi Leonard right on his heels. But heading into this season, the dynamic for MVP — and many of the NBA awards — feels very different and wide open.
In this latest PBT Extra, I lay out my preseason predictions for every award — LeBron James for MVP, Ben Simmons for Rookie of the Year, and on down the list. There are a few leaps and surprises in there (predicting Most Improved or Sixth Man before the season is a crap shoot, so why not gamble).
Now the predictions season is over, let’s get on to the games.
Jazz: Dante Exum undergoing surgery after shoulder injury
The following is a medical update on Utah Jazz guard Danté Exum who suffered a separated left shoulder on October 6 vs. Phoenix.
After further evaluation, Exum (6-6, 190, Australia) has elected to undergo surgery to stabilize the AC joint of his left shoulder. The surgery is scheduled to take place Tuesday, October 24 in Los Angeles. Further updates will be provided when appropriate.
Exum (obviously) didn’t receive a contract extension before today’s deadline, so he’ll become a free agent next summer. After one full missed season already and two years of limited effectiveness, it’s not even clear Utah will extend Exum a qualifying offer to make him a restricted free agent. The former No. 5 pick almost certainly won’t meet the starter criteria, which means his qualifying offer would be worth $4,333,931 (down from $6,619,903 based on his draft slot).