Having the chance to acquire Rajon Rondo was so significant to the Dallas Mavericks’ cause, gregarious owner Mark Cuban actually took the time to stall his never-ending tour of self-promotion to handle the team’s real business.
Word is Cuban was on the set and ready to guest star on the Colbert Report when crunch time came on the Rondo deal. To his credit, the outspoken owner wisely elected to pause and take the call.
The end result could make for a whole new show in Dallas and in NBA circles in general, with the Mavs now instantly and legitimately rating among a handful of teams, at least talent-wise, worthy of wearing the NBA crown come June.
Even without the All-Star Rondo, the Mavs have raced out to a 19-7 start this season. But the one thing that most stood out to Cuban was that they just didn’t seem quite good enough for any of it to truly matter come the time it most should.
“We needed to be better defensively,” Cuban said of the NBA’s best scoring and highest field-goal shooting team. “I mean, teams were walking in and shooting better at the three than they were in the gym by themselves.”
Rondo figures to instantly change that in the same way he’s done it for every team he’s ever starred on. At just 6-foot-1 and 186 pounds, the NBA’s top assist man is as tough as he is savvy. Add to that, he now seems as focused as he’s ever been and all the swirling euphoria in Dallas seems more than justified.
“There’s one goal that you have in mind, and I’m dying to get another ring again,” Rondo told reporters during his introductory press conference. “I want another parade.”
And much of the betting money suggests Cuban put himself and his Mavs in position to soon be hosting one by simply taking the call.
“We didn’t have a lot of length at the point guard position,” he added. “We needed to get a lot taller or a lot longer. Rajon’s the best of both. He’s not taller, but he’s so long that he’s as good as 6-4 or 6-5, so he can guard much bigger. Everybody’s the team to beat in the West, that’s how deep it is. But at the same time, I think it makes us better.”
In Dallas, Rondo will team with Dirk Nowitzki, Monta Ellis, Tyson Chandler and Chandler Parsons, placing the feisty point guard at the heart of the best core he’s been a part of since his early days in Boston of leading Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen to a pair of Finals appearances over eight seasons.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to play for future Hall of Famers and great teams and a great coach in Doc Rivers,” he said. “And to get back to that situation and be able to play with future Hall of Famers and a great coach and a team that’s ready to contend for a title, I’m fired up. I’m ready to go.”