DALLAS - To the national media, the Rajon Rondo "revelation'' that he "almost retired'' a few years ago after his sour experience in Dallas is headline-worthy in a stand-alone way.
To people who know the Mavericks, though, the idea of Rondo as a quitter is no revelation of all.
And therefore, Mavs coach Rick Carlisle's positive comments about Rondo - now with the Los Angeles Clippers, the Mavs' Round 1 foe in the upcoming NBA Playoffs - are .. interesting.
"I have great respect for him. He has been very respectful of both the Mavericks' organization and me since he left. I always go out of my way to say hello to him whenever we cross paths," Carlisle said on Tuesday on 105.3 The Fan's "GBag Nation.'' "You know, sometimes things just don't work. But look, this guy's one of the greatest competitors in the history of our game. He's a Hall-of-Fame competitor. I don't think anybody would deny that.''
Yeah, well, anyone who watched his inexcusable lack of effort in the 2015 NBA Playoffs while a member of the Mavericks might deny it.
Rondo was acquired from Boston by the Mavs in a blockbuster trade in 2015. The season was a struggle; he wanted to run the show with little regard for the coach's guidance. There were conflicts all year ...
And then in Game 2 of the Mavs-Rockets first-round series in the 2015 playoffs, Rondo quit on his teammates. Middle-of-a-game/shrug-his-shoulders/turn-into-a-casual-observer quit.
The series went on. But Rondo did not. He was done ... and when it was time for teammates to vote on playoff shares, the amount of dollars they voted for Rondo to receive matched his effort.
It wasn't the first time Rondo had drawn the ire of his coach, as he and Carlisle got into a shouting match during a regular-season game that ultimately led to his benching for the rest of the night and a one-game suspension.
What Rondo did in a Mavs uniform remains one of the most selfish and insulting actions in NBA history. So let the record show: Congratulate him for his revitalization if one wishes, as Carlisle does, classily pointing out that Rondo was key to what the other L.A. team accomplished last year.
"Look what he did for the Lakers last year. He was one of the reasons that they got over the top (and won the championship). That's the reason why the Clippers went after him, and they were smart to do it."
The Clippers are at home in L.A. for Saturday's Game 1 of the series. He can be embraced as a "heroic competitor'' there. But when he enters the AAC for Games 3 and 4? Mavs fans with long memories will likely offer him the same amount of credit he earned in 2015.