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Seriously, What’s The Deal With Rajon Rondo?

Did anyone order a dead-eyed stare?

Did anyone order a dead-eyed stare?

When it comes to talented point guard Rajon Rondo, the Boston Celtics either have a real problem or a real gem on their hands. It really depends on how you want to look at it. Although, how you look at it really depends on if you’re a Celtics fan.

On one hand, Rondo is extremely talented—generally ranked among the top five at his position in the NBA. These days a great point guard is hard to find and there’s a pretty significant drop off in ability after a certain point.

On the other hand, he’s an absolute nightmare to deal with. Rondo is known to be moody, combative, and his play can drop off the cliff depending on his emotional state. When his former teammate, and very good friend, Kendrick Perkins was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder in February 2011, it took months for him to recover.

Next on the jukebox: Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On"

Next on the jukebox: Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On”

Rondo later said the loss affected the “team” more than it should have, but it was his own slump in the wake of the trade that really hurt the Celtics. Many, including Rondo himself, considered his age to be a contributing factor.

However, he was 25 at the time, old enough to understand you don’t always get to be on a team with your best friend. Isn’t that a lesson most of us learned in junior high gym class? Or in freshman biology when your teacher assigned lab partners based on the alphabetical seating?

Sometimes things don’t go your way in life. It’s unfortunate, but true. In the real world you can’t fall to pieces and stop performing at work just because your best friend left for a new job. Granted, it’s become very clear that Rondo does not live in the real world—on any level. His actions rarely come with consequences—like a made man in the mafia.

The fallout from the Perkins trade proved he was emotionally stunted, or at least lagging miles behind his slightly older, and completely unflappable, peers like Chris Paul and Deron Williams. He has no ability to hide his emotions—whatever he’s feeling or thinking is usually written all over his face.

Everyone hates the referees, but you've got to play nice with them in the playoffs.

Everyone hates the referees, but you’ve got to play nice with them in the playoffs.

Rondo also has a problem controlling his temper. He’s frequently ejected from games for flagrant fouls, making contact with officials, and various other questionable acts. In May 2012 he was not only ejected, but suspended one game, after chest-bumping the referee during Game 1 of the Celtics quarterfinals series against the Atlanta Hawks.

Boston lost Game 1, but went on to win Game 2 without Rondo and take the series in six games. They actually went on a surprise run in the Eastern Conference Finals, nearly defeating the Miami Heat, before succumbing in seven. Rondo played brilliantly the rest of the way, but serious questions about him remained heading into the offseason.

Within weeks of the division rival Heat winning their first championship of the LeBron James era, Boston fan-favorite Ray Allen decided to take his talents to South Beach. Money was obviously not the motivator, considering the Celtics offered him $12 million over two years and the Heat offered him less than $10 million over three years. The reason behind the move was reportedly Allen’s relationship with Rondo.

No pleasantries being exchanged here.

No pleasantries being exchanged here.

According to a Yahoo! Sports report in July 2012, a “cold war” between the two began during the 2009-10 season—Rondo was signed to a five-year extension worth $55 million and Allen’s name instantly began popping up in trade rumors. Allen surmised a direct correlation and resented the mere implication that his salary could be the ‘fat trimmed’ on the Celtics payroll to compensate for the added expense.

Allen’s resentment built, and their relationship deteriorated, from there. Rondo’s polarizing presence in the locker room wasn’t limited to just Allen. He and Kevin Garnett seem to be cool, but Rondo’s relationship with Paul Pierce has run hot and cold and apparently he was “intensely disliked” by his (now former) head coach Doc Rivers—that according to Chris Sheridan of SheridanHoops.com.

The report alleges that during a team meeting at some point (no date was specified) he and Rivers almost came to blows after Rondo started dropping F-bombs on him. When your head coach tries to physically attack a player for swearing, you’ve officially reached a “him or me” situation.

This is probably worse than it looks—right?

This is probably worse than it looks—right?

The Celtics chose Rondo by choosing to trade Rivers to the Los Angeles Clippers this week, releasing him from the three years remaining on his contract and receiving a 2015 first-round draft pick as compensation. There’s also speculation that either Kevin Garnett or Paul Pierce, perhaps even both, could join Rivers in Los Angeles.

That means that the Celtics have gone “all in” on Rajon Rondo. He’s coming off an ACL injury and has been on and off the trading block for as long as he’s been in Boston, but this is it. They’ve put all their eggs in his basket…his very combustible basket.

Perhaps it was the only thing to do. Rondo is 26-years-old and has superstar talent—he’s the only piece they had in place to rebuild around for the future. The question being whether they wanted to rebuild completely right now or if their hands were tied because Rondo drove everyone else out of time.

Whatever the answer may be, let’s just hope Rondo gets along with the future better than he did the past. Otherwise, things are going to get very ugly for these Celtics.

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