Kurt Helin

Rajon Rondo

Rajon Rondo may have been joking about relationship with George Karl

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“It’s not been going too well. We got into a couple arguments the last couple of days. Hopefully, we continue to talk, and it will get better.”

That’s what Rajon Rondo said about his relationship with George Karl in an interview with Cowbell Kingdom after the Kings beat the Lakers in a Las Vegas preseason game Tuesday.

But was he joking around?

That’s the claim of people close to Rondo and the team — and they very may well be right. I saw the video (you can watch it below), and it didn’t sound that way to me, but I know from talking to him Rondo has a very dry sense of humor and I very well may have misread his intent.

There are three possibilities here.

1) He was serious. Rondo and Karl are both strong-willed people and this certainly would not be the first time Rondo had a rocky relationship with his coach. It’s not hard to believe this is true.

2) He was joking. As I noted above, Rondo has a very dry sense of humor with a deadpan delivery that can get lost in translation. People who cover the team said this was a joke and not a new one.

When I reached out to people around the Kings I was told without hesitation that he was joking and that things are good between Karl and Rondo. And Karl and the rest of the team, for that matter. This may well be the case.

3) He was being passive aggressive. Plenty of times when you hear an NBA player (or a guy in any sport) say he was joking about something, it was really a combo of him using a joke to express what he is really thinking.

You can decide for yourself what you think is the truth, but I am willing to admit that my first reading of the quote in the video could be wrong.

PBT Extra bold predictions: Lillard will lead league in shot attempts

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Last season, Damian Lillard was fourth in the NBA in the number of shots he attempted (1,360) — and that was with LaMarcus Aldridge, Wesley Matthews, Nicolas Batum and others putting up some quality attempts.

With all those guys gone, what is to going to slow Lillard from leading the league in shot attempts?

That’s the topic for this PBT Extra with Jenna Corrado, and I think the only thing that potentially stops Lillard from topping the league (aside health issues) is James Harden.

Rockets’ Clint Capela dunked all over Brandon Knight (VIDEO)

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We’re a little late on this highlight from last night, but it was too good to ignore.

Houston’s Clint Capela is building off his strong playoff showing last season by impressing during the preseason this year — the athletic Swiss center looks like a guy who deserves more run. He is strong on the pick-and-roll, and the man knows how to finish.

Just as Brandon Knight after Tuesday night.

Or you can ask Spencer Hawes or Lou Williams from last season. There’s a pattern here.

PBT Extra bold prediction preview: Utah’s defense means playoffs?

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I’ll admit it, I’m on the Utah Jazz bandwagon, I have them making the playoffs as the eighth seed in the West.

And as I discuss in this latest PBT Extra with Jenna Corrado, that happens because I think the Jazz have a top five defense this season, anchored by Rudy Gobert.

Can Gordon Hayward make the All-Star Game? Maybe, if the Jazz are playing well he could get in on the coach vote, but he’s on the bubble. Gobert could sneak in too if there are injuries to other centers in the West. But I wouldn’t bet on it.

Rajon Rondo on relationship with Karl: “It’s not been going too well”

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This was Rajon Rondo back in July, talking about his relationship with Sacramento Kings coach George Karl: “I think it’s a great fit. So far. We haven’t played any games, coach Karl hasn’t kicked me out of any practices yet, so we will see how it goes.”

Well, now they’ve played some games and already in the preseason the headstrong Rondo and his coach are in conflict. In an interview Tuesday with Cowbell Kingdom after the Kings beat the Lakers in an exhibition game in Las Vegas, Rondo said this about his relationship with Karl (you can see the video above):

“It’s not been going too well. We got into a couple arguments the last couple of days. Hopefully, we continue to talk, and it will get better.”

Karl said over the summer he expected some of this, that he knew Rondo was willful and that he would challenge the coaching staff at times. That’s not necessarily a bad thing in limited doses — you can be sure Chris Paul challenges Doc Rivers at points, same with Russell Westbrook and any coach who tries to reign him in.

The question is how it is handled and how the relationship evolves. Rondo challenged Rick Carlisle in Dallas last year and that relationship deteriorated to the point the Mavericks were better with Raymond Felton on the floor, and Rondo wasn’t around for the end of the Mavericks’ playoff series.

Rondo didn’t seem angry in this interview; he appeared to take this in stride as part of the process. The Kings are a combustible mix of players — to use Karl’s words — and that makes this relationship one worth watching.

Complicating matters for the Kings, their other point guard Darren Collison has played well this preseason in Karl’s system. Rondo and Collison are going to split time at the point, but if things continue as they have been the scales (and minutes) could tip toward Collison.