DALLAS (AP) Rajon Rondo says he and Dallas coach Rick Carlisle talked all the time in the days after the point guard arrived from Boston in a trade the Mavericks hope will boost their chances of winning a championship.
At some point, the communication waned – and the next thing the pair knew, they were screaming at each other on the court in an outburst that led to a one-game suspension for Rondo.
With time served in a loss at Atlanta one night after the episode marred a win at home against Toronto, Rondo returned to practice Friday and said he was ready to move on. And Carlisle said he’d already done so.
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”In terms of NBA time, it’s light years ago,” said Carlisle, who plans to start Rondo on Saturday night against Brooklyn at home.
While the episode raised doubts about Rondo playing more than a partial season in Dallas since he’s set to become a free agent, the four-time All-Star who won a title with the Celtics in 2008 tried to be clear about where his priorities are.
”I’m going to do what’s best for the team and play my heart out for these next 22 games we have left and make a run in the playoffs,” Rondo said.
The first sign of trouble came about a month after the December trade, when Carlisle sat Rondo in the final minutes of a four-point loss to Chicago after the Mavericks had said they made the trade in part for his intangibles and penchant of clutch performances.
The transition to Dallas was interrupted when Rondo missed six games after breaking a bone near his left eye. Four games later, the shouting match erupted when Carlisle angrily called a timeout when he couldn’t get Rondo’s attention while his guard was bringing the ball up the court.
”I think I’ve just got built-up frustration,” Rondo said. ”Our communication was great at first, and not that it wasn’t so great, it’s just that we weren’t communicating enough, I don’t think, and vice versa on his side. That shouldn’t be the case the rest of the season.”
Rondo said part of the communication breakdown came from Carlisle spending more time incorporating yet another addition in veteran forward Amare Stoudemire, who signed after the New York Knicks bought out his contract.
Since the spat, Rondo and Carlisle have spoken several times.
”I’ve been in this situation before,” Rondo said. ”Everyone’s personality is different. I don’t think this is a problem at all. I spoke with pretty much everyone in the organization and everyone is on the same page.”
If they aren’t, they’re not going very far. So says star and franchise tone-setter Dirk Nowitzki.
”I think whatever needed to be worked out is between them and we’re looking forward to finishing the season strong,” the 7-foot German said. ”That’s only possible if we’re all on the same page and just pulling together.”
Rondo and Carlisle have hit the reset button, trying to get back to where things started two months ago.