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The sad decline of Rajon Rondo

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Looks like we got out just in time.

Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Dear Rajon Rondo skeptics.  I have a mea culpa for you.  Here it is.

I thought he had something left and that the positives would outweigh the negatives.  First for the Celtics and even after the trade I figured he had something to add to the Mavericks.  I was wrong.  Or maybe it is kinder to say that I was misguidedly hopeful.  I was a fan.  I still am but in a different way.  This feels a bit like the end of the Antoine Walker era.  I'll always be a fan of his, but I understood his flaws and I was fine seeing him go.  In the long run it was better for the franchise.  Same goes for Rondo.

In case you missed it, Rondo has played his last game for Dallas and it didn't end well.  He was benched in the 4th quarter last night and skipped out on the media after the game.  At first the Mavs tried to claim that Rondo had a back injury and would be out "indefinitely."  But Coach Carlisle cleared up any ambiguity.  Rondo's done there.

Obviously the problems started long before that.

How Rajon Rondo's time with the Mavericks turned into a disaster - SBNation.com

The point guard often found himself benched in fourth quarters as the team went to guys who could actually shoot. Things boiled over in late February when the two could be seen arguing on the sideline during a game. According to Wojnarowski, Rondo asked, "Why the [bleep] did you bring me here?" to Carlisle during the argument, underscoring the struggles in the relationship between the two. Carlisle and the Mavericks seemed to have a good thing going before Rondo arrived, and it's possible the past few months have cost Rondo a lot of money on the open market, which he'll hit this summer.

So endeth another weird chapter in the strange saga of Rondo's career.  He's cost himself millions heading into a free agency that at one point seemed destined to net him a max contract from someone.  That's not happening according to Wojo.

Josh Smith's partnership with Dwight Howard flourishing as Rajon Rondo unravels with Mavs - Yahoo Sports

When Rondo realized his run with the Celtics was over this year, he planned to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers in the summer, league sources told Yahoo Sports. He expected a maximum contract. Once Dallas made the trade, he was open to re-signing with the Mavericks – only there are no max contract offers for Rondo on the market. Not in Dallas, nor Los Angeles. He's played his way out of that payday – not just this year, but since that terrible ACL injury two years ago.

Chances are he'll still sign with a team like the Lakers (and if he does that he's officially dead to me - I'm already getting mentally prepared for it).  There's even a chance that under a different coach in a different system in a different city he'll get a chance to reclaim some of that luster that he's lost.  But I no longer hold out any hope that he'll be much more than a rotation guy from now on.

All of which forces us to re-evaluate the trade from earlier this season.  It seemed like a reasonable return at the time.  Now it seems like highway robbery.

Yeah, I'd say that Danny did alright with that one.  I guess it is good that he's our GM and not me and my achy-breaky-heart.  Gotta a little feel bad for the Mavericks, but that's the breaks.  They took a gamble and came up empty.

We haven't seen the last of the Rondo show, but I think it is finally safe to say that the best of it ended years ago.

But hey, we'll always have 2007 through 2012.