DALLAS — Rick Carlisle is a happy man and honestly, why shouldn’t he be?
After an offseason where Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and general manager Donnie Nelson brought such players as Tyson Chandler and Chandler Parsons to the Mavs, the Dallas front office might have pulled off their biggest move of 2014 on Thursday with the acquisition of standout point guard Rajon Rondo from the Boston Celtics.
And it’s a move Carlisle, someone who is not prone to hyperbole, isn’t underselling one bit.
"This is a big day in our franchise’s history," Carlisle said during a Friday afternoon press conference to introduce Rondo at American Airlines Center. "I feel like Rajon is a guy that impacts the game in so many different ways. He’s a very intelligent player. He’s a very experienced player and he’s a multiple All-Star. And so a guy like that would fit into any team extraordinarily well and I know he’ll fit in well here.
Of course, while Rondo is clearly the headliner in the deal, one where the Mavs sent the likes of Jae Crowder, Jameer Nelson and Brandan Wright to Beantown while Dallas also got young big man Dwight Powell back in the trade, Carlisle is also excited about getting Powell in the deal.
That’s because he sees a great deal of potential in Powell, who played just five games with the Celtics last season as a rookie.
"Dwight Powell is a guy who we had in for draft workouts last year who we really liked in the draft, and a guy that they did now want to give up," Carlisle said.
Rondo arrived in Dallas on Friday afternoon. Carlisle and his coaching staff were going to meet with Rondo and Powell on Friday evening. And if both of these brand new Mavs pass their physicals on Saturday morning, which is all but assured, then Rondo should make his Dallas debut on Saturday night when in-state rivals the San Antonio Spurs visit the AAC.
"On the assumption all the physicals clear, Rajon will be in the starting lineup tomorrow night," Carlisle said. "We’ve got to get him out there and we’ve got to get going."
And since Jason Kidd also played for Dallas under Carlisle, the comparisons between J-Kidd and Rondo are almost inevitable.
Carlisle sees some merit to such discussion but he also knows there are some rather big differences between the two talented floor generals.
"There are definitely similarities but they’re different players," Carlisle said. "The similarities, I think, are that Jason kept developing his game into his late 20s and 30s. He was a guy that was not known as a guy that was a very good shooter, but developed into a guy that was a consistent 3-point shooter, and that was one of the things that defined his Hall of Fame career."
Carlisle added: "Rajon is a younger guy at 28. He’s one of the youngest guys on our team now. That’s how quickly things change in this league. I see him as a guy who hasn’t reached the ceiling as a player as good as he’s been. We’re just thrilled to have him here. They (Rondo and Kidd) are two of the more resourceful guys you’re ever going to see in basketball. They just find ways to affect the game and help teams win. Guys like that you welcome into any situation."
Dallas fans won’t have to wait long to catch their first glimpse of Rondo in a Mavs uniform as it will come just two days after the trade.