Rajon Rondo is my all-time favorite NBA player, but I didn't bat an eyelash when news broke that the Boston Celtics traded him to the Dallas Mavericks. I'm a pretty emotional person too -- just ask my family how I shamelessly cry when I watch movies -- but when it comes to transactions in sports, I am stoic.
When the referee tossed up the opening tip Friday night at TD Garden, the ball didn't get guzzled through a black hole because Rondo isn't wearing Celtics Green anymore. Tyler Zeller still knocked the ball out of the air back to Avery Bradley, who passed it to the team's new starting point guard, Evan Turner.
The basketball world keeps turning, whether or not Rondo is with the Celtics. It's a sad reality, but that's the business of the NBA.
The Boston Celtics dog-walked the Minnesota Timberwolves on their way to a dominant 114-98 victory. Minnesota doesn't have a roster that will strike fear into your heart, especially with Nikola Pekovic and Ricky Rubio sidelined, but Boston proved that they can still execute their offense successfully, even without their former captain.
They are now in sole position of the eighth playoff seed in the Eastern Conference and have a handful of upcoming games against other teams fighting for a spot, including Miami, Orlando, and Brooklyn. By next weekend, the Celtics are still going to be in the thick of the playoff race -- again, even without Rondo.
Of course, Rondo had an unforgettable career with Boston, largely due to his "imagination," as Celtics play-by-play announcer Mike Gorman described it on last night's broadcast.
Rondo would approach a situation on the court and find a solution that no one else would think of. Much like the creative geniuses that came before him, it was Rondo's pure imagination that made him into the stellar player that he was in Boston.
When I think about Rondo's vividness, this 2012 play against the Golden State Warriors is the one that first comes to mind. With multiple defenders watching him, Rondo penetrated, elevated, and somehow accurately landed a behind-the-back pass smack into Ray Allen's shooting pocket.
Plays like this are what get me emotional about basketball, not dunks or anything like that, but freak passes. That's why Rondo won me over during his rookie season and was my favorite player throughout the entire Big 3 era.
But, you know what, I can still be amazed by Rondo's flashiness, and so can you; he'll just be playing for a different organization. I'll be tuned in on Saturday night when Rondo plays his first game in Dallas against his new archrival, the San Antonio Spurs. I will always root for Rondo, both as a player, and as a person.
Sure, he won't be doing it with Boston, but that's okay, because there will be other Celtics that'll make us jump up off of our seats like a jack-in-the-box: whether it's Marcus Smart bulldozing through screens and locking down his man; Kelly Olynyk pump-faking and driving to the lane before dealing a pass only point guards normally make; or Jared Sullinger using his big booty to box-out, snatch a rebound with one hand, and then toss it back up for a layup.
The Celtics are still going to be entertaining this season, and there will be plenty more exciting players to come with their stockpile of draft picks over the next few years, even if we don't even know who those players are right now.
Don't we live and breath Boston Celtics basketball because we love the team, not just the individual players?
Many fans seem to think that the team is worse off going forward without Rondo, and I'm not here to argue that (in this article, at least), but ultimately, I just can't be unhappy about Boston losing their four-time All-Star.
"It was very difficult to move Rajon. I know that it's business in professional sports, but you really develop a lot of close relationships, " Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said to the media before Friday's win. "It was an emotional time as we met last night. It was not an easy thing to do, but I believe it was the right thing to do."
Understandably, Ainge is emotional about trading Rondo -- he worked with him for over eight years -- but all he ultimately cares about is building a Celtics roster that can contend and eventually win Banner 18.
The players certainly do matter, but they are often interchangeable. Moreover, there are very few players that are irreplaceable, and I don't think Rajon Rondo is one of them.
In a league filled with talented starting point guards, more than there have ever been in the history of the league, with plenty more to come in the next handful of drafts, Rondo's position is replaceable. With Marcus Smart waiting in the wings, that is even more true for Boston, though there will be even more options in the coming years.
Rajon Rondo will always be a Celtics legend and the starting point guard of the unforgettable Banner 17 team in 2008; and for as long as he plays this beautiful game of basketball I will be watching him use his imagination to make me believe, at least a moment, that magic is real.
But the NBA is a business rooted in reality, where the soft spot in my heart doesn't matter half as much as the logical thoughts bouncing around in my brain, from neuron to neuron. Rajon Rondo might've been the best individual player dealt in Thursday's blockbuster trade, but collectively the Celtics will eventually be better. Fans of the Boston Celtics will soon enough have some new players that they'll love to root for and want to keep in Green forever; it's only a matter of time.