You remember how Rajon Rondo’s season ended in Dallas. It was ugly.
Many made the obvious prediction that Rondo lost himself some money in free agency this summer. Once a dominant playoff force, Rondo — who posted a 44-10-8 game against LeBron James — was not only a shell of himself in this postseason, he simply quit and got sent home.
The benching prompted the first official report (via Bleacher Report) that the Lakers are not all in on signing Rondo this summer, as they once were rumored to be, especially if the price isn’t right. At this point, Rondo probably isn’t quite as much of a burden as everyone is making it seem following his mental breakdown, but he also isn’t the max-contract player that he himself predicted he would be back in training camp with the Celtics.
Although the Lakers (and probably Knicks and Kings) will say that they’re less interested in Rondo, they really still want him, they just want to pay him less than they would’ve had to before. Of course, if Rondo wants to bet on himself, he could always sign a one-year deal on the cheap and attempt to boost his value.
How much money Rondo’s antics ultimately cost him will be determined in July. But what we know now is that he’s already cost himself roughly $15,000. How? The Mavericks decided not to give Rondo his playoff share (which is not much money for a first-round appearance, but is divided up between the players). Sure, this is pocket change to a guy who made $12.9 million this past season, but the message is loud and clear: “Get lost … and don’t let the door hit you on the way out!”
This was a message that was decided on by the players, and that’s going to speak as loudly as anything when Rondo hits free agency. Particularly because it goes beyond his poor play on the floor and tells all of us what his teammates in Dallas think of him … which turned out to be nothing.
In Boston, both Brad Stevens and Danny Ainge said they were “surprised” by what happened with Rondo in Dallas. Another source within the Celtics organization told me that the clash was just as much Rick Carlisle as it was Rondo. But we already knew the coach didn’t like the player. Now we know his own teammates didn’t care for him. That $15k that Rondo lost out on could wind up plummeting his value even further, simply because of the message behind it.
Follow me on Twitter @julianedlow