This morning on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher and Rich, the most recent Rajon Rondo situation was discussed. Last week, rather than travel with the team to Sacramento, Rajon Rondo stayed behind in LA and got together with friends and family to celebrate his 28th birthday. This, not surprisingly, has sent shockwaves through all media outlets covering the Celtics.
Co-hosts Rich Shertenlieb and Jon Wallach both agree that there is much more to this situation than any member of the Celtics are letting on. The fact that Danny Ainge is yet to fully comment, Brad Stevens gave Belichickian non-answers, and Rondo was a little more ornery than usual with the media when asked to comment, lead them to believe that there is no love lost between the Celtics and Rajon Rondo and espoused that once his contract is up, Rondo is out of here. Wallach compared his comments to the media to Josh Beckett’s infamous “my day off is my own” comments he made before he was traded out of Boston.
“I haven’t really read much about it,” he said after Wednesday night’s game. “Heard a lot of comments. Nobody knows the story. You guys keep making up every story you guys possibly can. It’s my business. Not yours.”
I love a good media dust up as much as the next guy, but this is about as non-issue as it gets. Here’s why:
1. The Celtics are handling this issue internally: Just like the Jared Sullinger domestic abuse situation that kicked off the 2013-14 campaign, Rondo’s 28 Birthday-Gate is being handled internally as well. He played against Utah and against Atlanta last night. He hasn’t been suspended by the team. I’m pretty sure it has already been put to bed.
2. He was accompanied by his family to LA: I’m sure the accompaniment of ones family on a west coast swing isn’t new, and it also doesn’t completely fly under the radar. The Rondos were there, I’m sure they were noticed, and my guess is he planned on staying in LA before they left the frozen tundra that is Boston. I don’t think this was a secret plan that he executed perfectly unbeknownst to the rest of the Celtics organization.
3. We all knew he wasn’t playing in Sacramento: He announced he is still not playing every single back to back as he continues to ease back into playing basketball at a high level. He knew he wasn’t playing, the Celtics knew he wasn’t playing, and we all knew he wasn’t playing.
4. We’re tanking this season aren’t we?: What does it matter? Rondo was at every single game when he was injured. Rondo was at every single practice when he was injured. Rondo addressed the media every time they wanted to talk to him when he was injured. One of the leading theories on the 2013-14 campaign is that Rondo is “in on it”, right? Rondo not going to Sacramento for a game he wasn’t going to play in helped the Celtics lose and get closer to a better draft pick, right? Let the man eat some cake, bro. LET THE MAN EAT SOME CAKE.
5. This points to signs that Rondo is out of here: 9 times out of 10 when asked if he wants to play in Boston for his entire career, Rondo has said yes. To paraphrase a few reports by Austin Gill, Rondo has said, “I’m making All-Star money now” and “why would I leave?”
When Rondo didn’t sign an extension this season, Danny Ainge himself said that was what they expected and the best move for Rondo to make. Our own Mike Dyer broke it down monetarily and had Rondo signed and extension now, he would have lost MILLIONS OF DOLLARS. Just like this birthday mess, NONE of this is a clear sign that Rondo wants out.
Of course he wants to test the waters in free agency- who wouldn’t? If you’re one of the top 20 players in the league, and a top 10 point guard at the very least, why wouldn’t you see what your value is worth? NBA players have the worst contracts in sports (well, maybe not worse than the NHL), so yea, kid- see how much money you can get. Obviously re-sign in Boston so my season tickets aren’t completely worthless, but yea… feel free to explore.
The Celtics would trade Rondo in a heartbeat if the deal was sweet enough, so Rondo saying he wants to see what’s out there isn’t a slap in the face to the Celtics or their fans… it’s part of basketball.
Here’s what I think really happened: I think that Kings trade that Rondo was mentioned in was a liiiiiiiiiittle more real than anyone in the know is letting on. I also don’t think Rondo liked that very much and took that opportunity to flex a little muscle of his own.
Rondo announced he wasn’t going to play in that back-to-back which the Celtics agreed to and asked to stay in LA to see friends and family. The Celtics probably said, “well- we would prefer you make the trip… but it’s up to you,” and Rondo said, “Great! See you in Utah!”
Rondo hasn’t been suspended. If him missing the Sacramento trip was considered “unbecoming of a Celtic” he would have been. Is it the best message for the Captain to send? No. Does it matter in the long run? No. Do we have any idea what really happened? No. Is this a non-issue? Yes.