If you haven't already checked your calendar, you should know that this Thursday is our first game of the season against Rajon Rondo and his new team the Sacramento Kings. It will be played in Mexico City, so that should only add to the surreal atmosphere.
The Kings are 7-12 and coming off a victory over the Dallas Mavericks. Oh hey, Rondo played for the Mavericks too. That's a fact that many Mavericks fans would like to forget. Coaches and owners too.
"I think we all realize that now, but when you do a deal like that, you've got to do everything possible to make it work. I learned a lot going through the year with him and trying to be creative and use some of his unique abilities. He's a very talented player, and he's having a great year this year, which is basically no surprise."
Nice things are being said all around. In fact, it sounds like everyone's able to joke about things now.
Rajon Rondo on interrupting Rick Carlisle's huddle w/ Deron Williams: "He just told me to get the f--- out of here. I’ve heard that before."— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) December 1, 2015
That's cute. But really, that was all just an interesting opening act for the main performance coming up Thursday. Right Rajon?
But when asked if playing against Dallas would bring about any special emotions, Rondo shut down that line of thought quickly. "No," he told the Sacramento Bee. "It’s not Boston. It’s not a big deal."
Remember the last time Rondo played against the Celtics? Let me refresh your memory.
The former Celtics point guard scored a career-high 15 first-quarter points, finishing with a season-best 29 in his return to Boston to lead Dallas to a 119-101 victory Friday night. Rondo also had a career-high five 3-pointers, and finished with six rebounds and five assists. "Obviously, it was a special day," the four-time All-Star said after his first game in the TD Garden since he was traded to Dallas last month. "I'm emotionally tired. I'm physically tired, and I'm drained."
But all that is ancient history, right? Rondo is with the Kings now. So how are things going with them? Well, it has been an interesting several months in Sacramento. DeMarcus Cousins and coach George Karl haven't always been on the same page.
Rondo, on the other hand, has looked a lot like his old self lately, leading the league in assists per game and dropping 4 triple doubles in the process. He could be on his way to a 5th All Star selection. He's also doing what he can to provide Cousins and the Kings with some veteran leadership.
Recently he and Cousins pulled Karl aside for a meeting with just the 3 of them and all sides seem to have agreed that it was a positive thing.
"It was a powerful meeting for all three of us," Rondo told Yahoo Sports. "We asked him to just sit with us so we can pick his brain and share our thoughts," Rondo told Yahoo Sports. "What I love about [Karl] is he’s very open. George is not a dictator. ‘What can we do positively? What can we do to improve?’ "If you can come into a meeting with no egos and everyone was humble, it just works out for the better."
Cousins has taken a keen liking to Rondo and looks up to him in a way that isn't all that unlike Rondo looked up to KG. So there's a chance that things could be turning for the better for Rajon in his new home. Though it will only stay that way if they start winning more basketball games than they are currently.
What does all of this have to do with us? Not much, really. I just have a reflexive instinct to write about Rajon whenever I have the chance. Years of habit-forming routine will do that to you. How many debates did I start on this site with leading articles? How many trade rumors did I cover? How many mini-controversies did we suffer through?
Through it all, I was and still am a Rondo fan, for good or bad. At the same time I came to grips long ago that it was time for both sides to move on and everyone has. Granted, the Mavericks got hosed in the process, but that's nothing to me.
A new era has begun in Boston and Rondo's exit played a big part in kicking things off in the right direction. As much as I wish our old friend well, I hope that his new team struggles for at least one more game.
(Note: I can't promise that this will be the only Rondo article of the week - depending on quotes and stories that come out this week - I just wanted to be the first one. You have been warned.)