Mavs Donuts: Rajon Rondo's Top 10
The Dallas Mavericks are at Los Angeles tonight to take on the Lakers. I'll be part of the FOX Sports Southwest TV coverage beginning at 8 p.m., and the storylines included the planned return from a seven-game absence of Chandler Parsons (ankle). But as important as CP's physical health is here (see Mike Marshall's terrific breakdown here), the emotional and psychological health of the Mavs-Rondo marriage is as critical an issue as Dallas faces.
And Rajon Rondo himself doesn't see to think it's much of an issue at all.
"I love it here,'' Rondo says in a terrific visit on Yahoo. "I don't dislike anything. I'm not uncomfortable. Of course, the system is different, but I've been here for two months. It's going to take time. Hopefully, sooner rather than later."
Does he want out?
"People say I'm not trying to be here, but I don't talk to anybody but the five people that are in my circle," Rondo says. "I will vent to them about where I want to be. I'm happy. I'm in a great situation. The best thing is the weather. I miss my kids. I miss my family. That's hard, as well not having them and you come home after playing a bad game. They are always there to cheer you up. That's been difficult.
"I haven't had a change of heart about wanting to be here. ...''
Our man David Lord notes how crippling it would be to Dallas' plans to lose Rondo via free agency. But one couldn't blame Rajon if he's excited about being on the market. So ... are you?
"Not really,'' he says. "I never had it, but I want to live for today. When it's going to come is when it's going to come. One thing that will help me is that when I tore my ACL that made me realize to live in the moment. Don't think about next month or think about two months from now. Life isn't guaranteed. Enjoy the situation you are in now. We're blessed and what is going to happen is going to happen."
"I'm misunderstood in general,'' he says. "I don't mind because I'm very quiet and I stay to myself. People are going to say what they want to say. I don't talk, so I don't know why they would say that (he wants out of Dallas). I don't think I play as if I don't want to be here. I give it all when I'm out there on the court.
"I'm always in communication trying to learn and get better and learn what's better for the team. All I care about is winning. I made a lot of sacrifices, I believe, coming here. I try to give up the ball and move without the ball a lot more. It's hard to adjust. But for the sake of the team to win that's what I'm trying to."
So, you are open-minded to re-signing with Dallas?
"Why would I not be?'' Rondo says. "There are a lot of things that I really love. Even the practices, we listen to music, my type of music. It's the little things. Say we are going to California, we will play Too $hort and West Coast music. If we are going to Houston we might play chop and screw, Bun B or something like that. If we are going to New Orleans we might play Lil Wayne at practice, during shooting 30 minutes before practice. It's a cool way they run it. We get our work in.
"It's a player's organization. Players first, from our plane, the way we travel. I don't take that for granted. We eat good. We stay at the best hotels. Of course, it's the NBA. But this organization has the best.''
"It's tough,'' Rondo says. "People think you're supposed to go right in and fit in. You're coming to a completely different system. You got 14 guys adjusting to you. Me as a player and a person, I have to adjust to the 14 guys and make it easier. It hasn't been bad in transition. A lot of support."
"Dirk is funny as hell,'' Rajon says. "Monta is like my brother. We're close. In the morning we go to practice as a team. It's a great group of guys. There are not too many knuckleheads like me. ... I don't think you would find too many guys who would have something negative to say about me. I'm always for the team. I always try to do the little things that come natural. I don't try to fit in or anything."
Rondo says: "I believe he is a man of his word. He just wants to win. He's a competitor. You can probably tell that by the way he lives his life. He wants to win and be the best. I think we have that same goal to give it all we have with everything we do."
"Our morale is down a little bit,'' Rondo says, "and obviously guys want to win. I think we have the pieces. We're in a tough stretch right now. We have one of the toughest schedules, especially at our age playing back-to-backs.
"I'm very positive and very optimistic. I am going to continue to grow. I'm going to watch film. I'm going to hold guys up and bring them in to watch film as well. That's one thing I've been trying to preach to the team, 'We have to watch.' Everyone might have a rebuttal verbally after the game, but when you watch film it doesn't lie.''
Of course, while Rondo calls the Mavs "a players' organization,'' I have to reiterate that it's a "players' organization'' run by the coach. Rondo reflects on his conflict with Rick Carlisle:
"The situation happened and everyone was like, 'Oh, he doesn't want to be here now.' I get into it with all my coaches. It goes back to [Oak Hill Academy coach] Steve Smith, [his former Kentucky coach] Tubby Smith. It's actually funny. The day me and Rick had an altercation, Tubby came in our locker room and kind of surprised me. Me and Tubby used to get into it and he says I'm his favorite player he ever coached. ... It's part of it. Its just life. It's like a marriage. You are not always going to like your wife, you are going to have your arguments, but you are not going to throw in the towel.''
It is exactly like a marriage. And you don't get divorced while you're still on your honeymoon.
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