It is finally official. The 2008 Championship team is now completely gone. The Rajon Rondo era is over and I'm all awash in emotions.
Sadness because one of my favorite Celtics will likely never wear green again.
Frustration because I still don't think it is the right move.
Resignation because there's nothing I can really do about it.
And even a little relief because we'll never have to go through another Rajon Rondo rumor saga again.
For me, Rajon Rondo represented a tie to the past and a hope for the future. He was part of one of the greatest Celtics teams I've had the pleasure of watching (2008). He was one of the 2 best players on the 2010 team that was a quarter away from winning a title. When Danny Ainge decided to move on from that era and traded Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, it wasn't clear what the plan was with Rondo.
I had hoped that they could have paired him with some other stars and taken this team into the next era with a bang. It sounds like Ainge was hoping to do just that with his pursuit of Kevin Love this summer. That Love affair was probably a longshot anyway, but then LeBron happened and the rest is current events (we aren't at history yet).
This one hurts. I suppose I've seen this potentially coming for months and years now. But that doesn't make it hurt less.
It isn't just the ties to the past, although that's part of it. I've just always been a sucker for centers that defend and point guards that pass. Rondo is an exotic animal. He breaks the mold and his uniqueness is polarizing. For some it pushed them away. For me, it was a magnet, pulling me in. I couldn't get enough of the jaw dropping passes, the zigging when everyone was zagging, the stubborn toughness, and the old school attitude. In short, I'm a huge fan.
I get that he's got his faults. I'll even concede that he might never get back to being the guy that made several All Star appearances. Maybe we did get all that the market would bear for him, but I don't have to like it. If it was so hard to get "fair value" for him, then why deal him? Maybe I'll change my tune when I get to know this Brandan Wright fella, but I think I'd still rather have a chance at re-signing Rondo over a couple of players and a late first round pick.
But all that is moot now. For whatever reason, Danny Ainge and the Celtics decided that the time to move on was now. The future is Marcus Smart, Jared Sullinger, Kelly Olynyk, and lots and lots of draft picks. And cap space too. I'm not sure who's going to sign here in the summer, but that's another article for another day. The rebuild was already on last year, but it feels like it has shifted into a new gear.
It is really hard to lose enough to get into the top lottery spots in this hyper-non-competitive Eastern Conference. But sending away Rondo is a good way to ensure your place outside the playoffs. Soon we'll be tracking Jeff Green rumors and probably Brandon Bass and others as well. Soon visions of ping pong balls will once again dance in our heads. But again, another article for another day.
Today I tip my cap to Rajon Rondo. One of a kind. A Celtic. A Champion. I'm gonna miss him.
He brought us so many great memories. He bested the best over the years (Kobe, LeBron, etc.) and he lived for the moment. He is a walking highlight real and a basketball savant. But now he'll be doing his Rondo things for the Dallas Mavericks.
That just seems weird, but in a way I'm very happy for him. He'll get a chance to once again play games that matter. He'll be playing for a team with title aspirations. He'll once again be playing with a Hall of Famer and a very solid supporting cast. Who knows, with a few breaks here and there he might be hoisting another championship trophy soon. I really, truly wish him the best of luck.
He also is likely to sign a long term (likely max or near-max) extension with Dallas. So he probably won't have to go through these weekly trade rumors again. That must be a relief to him.
I still have trouble believing it is over. For however many times it was rumored, Rondo always managed to come through it as a Celtic. Until this time. Just like that he's gone and the page is turned.
Take care Rajon. Best of luck in everything you do.