Rajon Rondo: Free agency not ‘closed,’ but Mavericks have ‘the upside’


The Mavericks are confident they’ll re-sign Rajon Rondo, who’ll become an unrestricted free agent this summer.

But they can’t know he’ll return.

The current Collective Bargaining Agreement made contracts unviable for most highly paid players, so Rondo couldn’t re-up for a max deal – what he has said he deserveswhen Dallas traded for him last month. So, Rondo will play out the season, and both sides will re-visit this in the summer.

But how is Rondo leaning right now?

Rondo, via Sam Amick of USA Today:

“My focus has been basketball, basketball, basketball, not necessarily being a free agent,” Rondo said. “I mean obviously I think (the Mavericks will) have the upside (in free agency). I wouldn’t say it’s wide open (in terms of considering other teams), but I wouldn’t say it’s closed (solely to the Mavericks) either because obviously they are the team that came and got me and from Day One they’ve been very loyal and very supportive in this transition for me.”

Rondo will most likely play for the Mavericks next season. They knew his desire for a max contract, and they still traded for him. They surely also talked to him before completing, and if he gave negative indications about re-signing, I doubt the trade would have gone through. They also clearly see him as a good fit for their team, which raises the amount they’d pay him.

Celtics fans who are Comcast Sportsnet New England subscribers who want to watch Rondo’s homecoming Friday night on a live stream can follow this link and see it for free.

That said, Rondo is wise not to commit now.

He has never been a free agent, signing an extension with with Boston following his rookie contract. He should explore his options.

Rondo has been linked to the Lakers and Knicks, and Los Angeles and New York are appealing markets. Playing with Kobe Bryant or Carmelo Anthony could intrigue Rondo, a better distributor than scorer.

Of course, Dallas also has plenty of talented players to receive Rondo’s passes. The Mavericks will just have a lot of moving parts next offseason. Only Dirk Nowitzki, Chandler Parsons and Devin Harris have guaranteed salaries without an option for 2015-16.

So far, Rondo appears happy in Dallas. He’s definitely winning at a rate he hadn’t in Boston for a couple years.

He’ll take the rest of the season to evaluate the Mavericks as he helps them make a championship push. Then, when he hits free agency, he’ll have a better sense whether he wants to stay. Of course, it helps Dallas can offer more money than any other team.

Whether or not Rondo said anything, the Mavericks are the clear favorites to sign him this summer, though they’re hardly locks. Rondo confirming that perception should tell other teams they still have a chance, but that they’re fighting an uphill battle. This is a signal to all teams, Dallas included, a really good offer will be necessary to land him.

Rondo is playing his cards exactly right.

LeBron James holds edge over Stephen Curry in All-Star voting, Pau Gasol passes Carmelo Anthony


The NBA has released its latest leaderboard for All-Star voting (see the first here):

Eastern Conference


1. John Wall (Was) 439,395

2. Dwyane Wade (Mia) 396,757

3. Kyrie Irving (Cle) 308,727

4. Kyle Lowry (Tor) 274,741

5. Jimmy Butler (Chi) 174,250

6. Derrick Rose (Chi) 168,281

7. DeMar DeRozan (Tor) 72,204

8. Louis Williams (Tor) 25,596

9. Giannis Antetokounmpo (Mil) 24,898

10. Bradley Beal (Was) 20,526


1. LeBron James (Cle) 775,810

2. Pau Gasol (Chi) 372,109

3. Carmelo Anthony (NY) 365,449

4. Chris Bosh (Mia) 283,899

5. Kevin Love (Cle) 219,139

6. Joakim Noah (Chi) 103,644

7. Marcin Gortat (Was) 103,478

8. Jonas Valanciunas (Tor) 83,642

9. Kevin Garnett (Bkn) 62,584

10. Al Jefferson (Cha) 62,436

11. Nikola Vucevic (Orl) 48,667

12. Paul Pierce (Was) 46,422

13. Paul Millsap (Atl) 34,751

14. Al Horford (Atl) 33,421

15. Nikola Mirotic (Chi) 27,723

Western Conference


1. Stephen Curry (GS) 755,486

2. Kobe Bryant (LAL) 694,665

3. James Harden (Hou) 516,514

4. Chris Paul (LAC) 334,544

5. Damian Lillard (Por) 147,955

6. Rajon Rondo (Dal) 137,974

7. Klay Thompson (GS) 128,542

8. Russell Westbrook (OKC) 122,134

9. Jeremy Lin (LAL) 114,286

10. Tony Parker (SA) 67,362


1. Anthony Davis (NO) 732,154

2. Blake Griffin (LAC) 403,415

3. Marc Gasol (Mem) 343,587

4. Tim Duncan (SA) 288,235

5. Kevin Durant (OKC) 254,448

6. LaMarcus Aldridge (Por) 234,290

7. DeMarcus Cousins (Sac) 165,456

8. Dwight Howard (Hou) 161,295

9. Dirk Nowitzki (Dal) 139,967

10. Kawhi Leonard (SA) 101,651

11. Rudy Gay (Sac) 75,827

12. DeAndre Jordan (LAC) 58,200

13. Tyson Chandler (Dal) 48,191

14. Nick Young (LAL) 46,323

15. Zach Randolph (Mem) 43,897

A few observations:

  • LeBron James might have more votes than Stephen Curry, but Curry is competing in a much tougher category. The Warriors guard is close enough that I wonder whether he’d win a head-to-head matchup with LeBron.
  • The projected starters remain the same, the only movement in order up top being Pau Gasol passing Carmelo Anthony for second among Eastern Conference frontcourt players.
  • Jimmy Butler passed Derrick Rose. As it should be with the Bulls guards.
  • Speaking of Chicago, Nikola Mirotic is the only rookie on the leaderboard.
  • James Harden remains in striking distance of Kobe Bryant. If Harden can somehow pass Kobe, that’d open a spot at a crowded position for a more-deserving player to make the team.
  • Damian Lillard, who said he wouldn’t campaign, was the big riser, anyway. He moved from eighth to fifth among Western Conference guards. He’s still far from starting, but he’s at least moving in the right direction.
  • Kyrie Irving remains third among Eastern Conference guards, one spot from triggering the Derrick Rose Rule. There’s a lot of money at stake here.

Report: Cavaliers granted disabled player exception for Anderson Varejao


Clearly the Cleveland Cavaliers need some help on the roster. A rim protecting big man would be nice, a little help at the three spot and/or some better perimeter defenders would certainly be welcomed.

Now the Cavaliers have a tool to maybe add some of that in season.

With center Anderson Varejao out for the season with a torn Achilles the team has been granted a disabled player exception, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.

It gives the Cavaliers front office some flexibility, particularly around the trade deadline.

Not that it will be that easy for them — there are not a lot of quality rim-protecting big men just floating around out there. The Cavaliers have been calling all season about big men they could trade for — Brook Lopez, Timofey Mozgov, Brandan Wright, Samuel Dalembert, Jordan Hill, a lot of names have surfaced in trade rumors. None of those has panned out and Dion Waiters has not shown to have a great trade value around the league.

Still, look for the Cavs — who are struggling compared to expectations — to try to be aggressive as the trade deadline starts to draw closer.

Chandler Parsons gets the and-1 to go from three-point distance (VIDEO)


Chandler Parsons got Rasual Butler to bite on a pump fake from beyond the arc, and once the contact was made, he was able to knock down the difficult shot for the and-1 opportunity from three-point distance.

Announcement: Pro Basketball Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $150,000 Fantasy Basketball league for Wednesday’s late NBA games. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $20,000. Starts at 6pm ET on Wednesday. Here’s the FanDuel link.

It was a nice shot and all, but what really makes it worth watching is the part of the video that begins at the 11-second mark, where the Mavericks freeD camera technology kicks in and gives us a 360-degree look at the play from multiple angles.

Dirk Nowitzki on Rick Carlisle starting him at center: ‘I thought he had a few beers to come up with that idea’


The Mavericks were suddenly running thin on centers last night.

Tyson Chandler was injured. Brandan Wright got traded to the Celtics. Jermaine O’Neal remains a free agent. That left Greg Smith and Charlie Villanueva as the only other two Dallas players who’d regularly played the position this season.

Rather than starting one of those two, Rick Carlisle rolled with this starting lineup against the Thunder:

  • Point guard: Rajon Rondo
  • Shooting guard: J.J. Barea
  • Small forward: Monta Ellis
  • Power forward:Chandler Parsons
  • Center: Dirk Nowitzki

Nowitzki, via Tim MacMahon of ESPN:

When Coach came up to me and asked me if I wanted to start at the 5, I thought he had a few beers to come up with that idea

Parsons, via MacMahon:

The least athletic front line we’ve ever had in the history of the NBA

Nowitzki had played just six minutes at center – defined as playing without Chandler, Wright, Smith or Villanueva – entering the Oklahoma City game.

In 22 minutes with Nowitzki at center last night, the Mavericks outscored the Thunder by 17 points. Dallas got outscored by 12 in the game’s other 26 minutes.

At this point, we should just trust Carlisle can take a sober look at his team and coach it well.