The news of Rivers and Rondo almost coming to blows doesn’t surprise many, as the relationship between the head coach and his Prima Donna point guard has been less than satisfactory for a long time. Ray Allen never said the reason he left was Rondo, but he didn’t get along with his backcourt teammate, and to him it seemed like Rivers, with the encouragement of the front office, was siding with Rondo, giving the keys to him.
But this past season changed a lot of the perception about Rondo, who was talked about as one of the best point guards in the NBA despite his inconsistent offensive production and inability to become a reliable mid range shooter or from the free throw line.
The Celtics did better without Rondo in the lineup, even if it mean Paul Pierce acting as the de facto point guard most of the time, but it also became clearer that giving Rondo the reins in terms of leadership for the team wasn’t something Rivers was too pleased about, one of the main reasons for him not wanting to return for a 10th season with the Celtics, which isn’t really up to him at the moment because of his contract.
Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, as of now, aren’t going anywhere. The Celtics and the Clippers tried to make the Rivers+Garnett for draft picks and DeAndre Jodran a complete package, but that didn’t work out well for them, with a contingency side deal not allowed by NBA rules, and both teams not looking to make just one half of it work.
So Rivers is now staying, but he doesn’t want to. Garnett and Pierce seemed to be tied together, wanting to end their career side by side, and despite being at the very end of their long NBA journey, Rivers prefers continuing his time with the Celtics with the two of them leading his dressing room than having Rajon Rondo remain in an integral position in the club.
If you’d have to guess what Rivers says to Danny Ainge, expect something along the lines of demanding to get Rajon Rondo off the team. Rondo is coming back from an ACL injury, but he’s due just under $25 million for the next couple of years, which is something a lot of teams would love to get from a point guard that when healthy usually leads the league in assists and might do himself with a little bit change of scenery.
It’s hard to say how this way ends because of the many moving parts, and no team actually making an offer for Rondo at the moment, but something the Boston Celtics refused to do twice over the last couple of seasons – considering giving up Rondo, suddenly becomes a very viable, and maybe even recommended course of action.