“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.