Author: Brett Pollakoff

Dallas Mavericks v Miami Heat

Report: Rajon Rondo did not receive a playoff share from Mavericks


The parting of ways between Rajon Rondo and the Dallas Mavericks didn’t exactly come under the most pleasant of circumstances.

Rondo struggled to fit in from both a personality and a performance standpoint, and rather than publicly disclose that the team was benching him for the rest of the playoffs, the Mavericks floated a “back injury” story to avoid dealing with a needless controversy.

The pairing was so poisonous to the Dallas franchise that the team had nothing but hard feelings for the way things transpired — so much so that the Mavericks decided against giving Rondo any portion of their bonus money they earned for participating in the postseason.

From Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News:

Multiple sources: Rajon Rondo did not receive a playoff share from the Dallas Mavericks.

Teams that reached the first round of the playoffs were given $208,940 apiece this season as part of the league’s playoff pool distribution, and may divide up that money any way they choose.

Often times it’s split up equally among teammates, and some clubs will give part of it to trainers, ball boys or other ancillary staff members, as well.

Rondo obviously doesn’t need the money. But in case he had any remaining doubts about how the Mavericks felt about him, getting stiffed on his portion of a playoff share should provide a not-so-subtle reminder that he’s no longer welcome in Dallas.

LaMarcus Aldridge: ‘Pressure is on Memphis to close us out’

LaMarcus Aldridge, Zach Randolph
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The Blazers avoided elimination with a Game 4 victory at home over the Grizzlies, thanks in large part to a brilliant 32-point performance from Damian Lillard that kept his team alive.

Portland still trails three games to one in the series, but in advance of another potential elimination contest, LaMarcus Aldridge says that his team isn’t the one that’s facing all the pressure.

From Michael Wallace of

The second part is likely more true than the first.

No team has ever come back from a 3-0 deficit in NBA history, and this Blazers squad isn’t likely to become the first. They trailed by 10 in the fourth quarter of Game 4, and Lillard only had the breakout game that he did because Mike Conley sat out with a facial injury that later required surgery.

Conley is out again for Game 5, so Lillard (against the likes of Nick Calathes and Beno Udrih) will once again have his opportunities. But there is little margin for error where the Blazers are concerned, and if the team should find itself trailing late in the contest, it will be up to Aldridge at that point to prove his statement’s worth.

‘Paul Pierce is just going to be who Paul Pierce is going to be,’ says Paul Pierce

Paul Pierce

Paul Pierce is in his 17th NBA season, and he’s having all kinds of fun in these playoffs. But he’d like to remind you that what he’s doing is nothing new; it’s who he’s been his entire career.

Pierce got things rolling with some trash talk in advance of the Wizards’ series against the Raptors, which baited Toronto’s GM into responding profanely, and ultimately cost the Raptors a total of $60,000 in fines.

He backed up his words with plenty of clutch play in the series, including a dagger three to seal the Game 3 win, which enabled him to talk even more. And once the sweep was complete, Pierce let loose on multiple social media platforms to troll the Raptors in every way possible.

He even went third person recently to let everyone know that he won’t be changing his ways anytime soon.

From Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today:

“I just look at it as good banter,” Pierce said. “Good banter. That’s the word. A lot of this stuff I don’t pre-think it. It just comes out naturally.”

He added: “Paul Pierce is just going to be who Paul Pierce is going to be. I’m going to be myself. If it helps our team or hurts our team, I’m just trying to be myself and see where that goes. I’m a vocal person. I speak up. I tell the guys how I feel. I’m emotional. It’s just me being me truthfully.”

And from Dan Steinberg of the Washington Post:

“That’s just me,” Pierce said on Tuesday. “I mean, if you go to YouTube, [search] Paul Pierce starting in 1998. You’ll see the same things.”

The Wizards struggled in the second half of the regular season, but looked to be coming together at just the right time during their first-round sweep of the Raptors. The top-seeded Hawks look vulnerable all of a sudden, and you’d have to give the Wizards a fighting chance in a second-round matchup against either Atlanta or Brooklyn, the winner of which would find themselves in the Eastern Conference Finals.

But no matter when Washington’s season comes to a close, it’s clear that Pierce will be enjoying the ride for as long as it lasts.

Report: Mavericks and Rajon Rondo ‘made a mutual decision to part ways,’ back injury story was nonsense

Rick Carlisle, Rajon Rondo

Rajon Rondo’s brief time in Dallas came to an end long before the Mavericks were eliminated from the playoffs by the Rockets.

After a disastrous 36-second stint to start the second half of Game 2, where Rondo picked up two personal fouls and a technical in an immature display that had many feeling like he quit on his team, he was benched by his head coach, never to return to the Dallas lineup.

The team said a back injury was to blame, and that it would sideline Rondo indefinitely. Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle later said he didn’t expect Rondo to ever wear a Mavericks uniform again, and now we know the reason why.

From Tim MacMahon of ESPN Dallas:

Rondo never really fit with the Mavs, as the concerns about the impact of his poor shooting in coach Rick Carlisle’s flow offense quickly manifested and were never solved. The hope of a “Playoff Rondo” sighting was crushed after his poor Game 1 performance and the appearance he gave up in Game 2.

The Mavs and Rondo made a mutual decision to part ways the next day, sources told, framing the reasoning as a back injury as a favor to try to help the four-time All-Star point guard save face.

The truth was that the Mavs didn’t want Rondo, who was going to be replaced in the starting lineup regardless, pouting and rubbing off on other players, Ellis in particular. Essentially, the Mavs made a drastic move in an attempt to do damage control on a chemistry crisis.

Just as we all suspected.

The back injury story was nonsense, if only because Rondo had been playing through it all along, and it was clear that his demeanor (and not his back) was what was hurting the team the most.

Telling the truth publicly at the time, that Rondo was a cancerous addition to the Mavericks who would be benched the rest of the way, would have only caused needless controversy for the remaining players in the locker room who were still battling to try to win a first-round playoff series.

It’ll be very interesting to see where Rondo lands as an unrestricted free agent after all of this — and especially at what price.

Report: DeAndre Jordan ‘has made it clear through back channels’ he’d be interested in joining Mavericks

Atlanta Hawks v Los Angeles Clippers

DeAndre Jordan has spent the entirety of his seven-year career with the Clippers, and while he may not be the Defensive Player of the Year candidate Doc Rivers has made him out to be, he had a breakout season that will have plenty of teams interested when he becomes an unrestricted free agent at the conclusion of this season.

Jordan led the league in rebounding with an average of 15 per game finished at the top of the leaderboard in field goal percentage with an absurd 71 percent, and finished fourth in blocked shots with an average of 2.23 per contest.

He’s a max contract-level player under the circumstances, but especially so considering the spike we’ll see in the salary cap in advance of the 2016-17 season.

The Clippers will certainly come calling with a five-year deal that only they can offer. But Jordan has already stated his desire to look around a bit, and if the latest report is to be believed, the Dallas Mavericks may be a very real option.

From Tim MacMahon of ESPN Dallas:

Another potential prize summer target for the Mavs: Clippers center DeAndre Jordan, who multiple sources say has made it clear through back channels that he will be extremely interested in coming to Dallas. Signing the 26-year-old Jordan, a dominant physical force who led the league in rebounding and field-goal percentage this season, would mean letting the 32-year-old Tyson Chandler leave again after another one-season stint with the Mavs.

“That’s up to management and what they decide to do,” Chandler said of his possible future in Dallas as he enters free agency, adding that his preference would be to return to the Mavs.

Jordan is a fantastic two-way player, and his athleticism creates problems for teams on both ends of the floor. He’ll be able to dictate the terms of his next contract, but there’s a legitimate decision to be made.

If he’s interested in earning the most guaranteed money possible at this moment, then signing the full five-year max that the Clippers can offer is the way to go. Or, if he’d rather sign a shorter deal to later take advantage of the rising salary cap and ultimately earn more in the future, that could open up any team as a possibility — and that obviously includes the Mavericks.