Dallas Mavericks point guard Rajon Rondo spoke Friday at length about his heated exchange with with coach Rick Carlisle during Tuesday's win over Toronto resulting in a subsequent suspension of Rondo during a loss Wednesday at Atlanta.
His media visit was full of references to "communication," included a reference to "championship," and was maybe a little light on "concession."
COMMUNICATION: Rondo hit a lot of the right notes here, citing his conversations with folks throughout the organization - and not just Carlisle - and suggesting that's been a help.
"(Carlisle) had some frustrations with me and vice-versa,” Rondo said after a Friday workout at the AAC that had him as the final guy to leave the floor. "Communication is definitely key in this situation. We’ve had a couple talks since then and we’re going to move forward. ... The most important thing is communication with coach.
Rondo concedes that when he was first traded to Dallas, he and Carlisle "were talking a lot, watching film a lot after every game. ... Our communication was great at first. Not that it wasn’t so great (recently), but we weren’t communicating enough for me, I don’t think. And vice-versa on his side. I think I just got built-up frustration.”
CHAMPIONSHIPS: “I’m playing with some great players," Rondo said. "With the addition of Amar’e now, I think we have a great chance to win the championship. That’s my main focus. I’m going to continue to work to get better and do what’s best to lead this team.”
The way this team has always been let before has featured a balance between win-at-all-costs intensity and self-effacing humility ... No coincidence that those are Dirk Nowitzki traits.
"To us, that’s been over with,'' Dirks said. "After the suspension, we were ready to move forward as a team.''
It's possible that Rondo can lighten up just enough to play a little "What Color Is The Dress"? Yup. Is such playfulness significant?
Rondo sees white and gold. pic.twitter.com/QwgYiyICkp— Earl K. Sneed (@EarlKSneed) February 27, 2015
It couldn't hurt.
CONCESSIONS (OR LACK THEREOF): Carlisle plans to re-insert the four-time All-Star Rondo in the starting lineup Saturday against Brooklyn.
Said the coach: "It’s over. In NBA time, (the conflict) is light years ago.’’
Maybe. But it is disconcerting to hear Rondo say things like, "Obviously I think it’s overblown." And "you wrote the story, anyway'' as if Mavs Nation doesn't have a right/desire to know what's going on. And suggesting that he somehow has the privilege to be as publicly "frustrated" with his boss as his boss was with lackadaisical play, poor play and seeming insubordination.
(You've seen plenty of the poor (offensive) play and above, you see the insubordination and the conflict. It might be important to check out Mike Marshall's DB.com presentation of what we think led directly to the conflict:
So maybe the problem is truly "in the past." Now comes the continued integration of another newcomer in Amare Stoudemire, the nursing to health of Chandler Parsons (who won't play with the bad ankle), the hope that Tyson Chandler (hip) can go tonight, and the 39-21 Mavs' stretch run.
“It’s just part of the game,” Rondo said of the crossing of swords. “I’m going to do what’s best for the team and play my heart out for the next 22 games we have left and make a run in the playoffs."
That sounds as ominously short-term as Carlisle's description of Rondo's remaining time here as a "stint." Thanks to DB.com's David Lord, Mavs fans now know the cap-managing and roster-building importance of re-signing Rondo when he's a free agent this summer; so a "stint" really won't be good enough. And wins will quite possibly cure all.
"I don’t think this is a problem at all ... Everything is back to normal," said Rondo, a remark that ideally opens up the communication, helps toward the goal of a championship and ... well, isn't much of a concession, unless "normal'' means "way better.''