The tension between Rajon Rondo and Mavs coach Rick Carlisle that bubbled to the surface with a profanity-laced shouting match and Rondo’s subsequent benching during Tuesday’s game predates that confrontation, team sources tell Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com. The soon-to-be free agent and the coach have been at loggerheads over play-calling for a while, MacMahon hears, but owner Mark Cuban doesn’t seem worried, the ESPNDallas.com scribe notes. It’s far from the first time Rondo has clashed with a coach, as Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com points out (on Twitter). While we wait to see if his latest confrontation has any implication on this summer’s free agent market, there’s more on the Mavs amid the latest from the Southwest Division:
- Mavs athletic trainer Casey Smith’s strong reputation was one of the keys to Amar’e Stoudemire‘s decision to sign with Dallas, as MacMahon writes in a separate piece examining the team’s success with players on minimum-salary contracts. Cuban cites the club’s medical staff along with its style of play and its success in the win-loss column for the team’s ability to attract veterans at a discount. “You start looking at the roster and what they’ve accumulated,” Richard Jefferson said. “I’m in year 14 [of my career] now. I want to win. If that means I have to take less money for a year or two to help a team win, then so be it.”
- Josh Smith considered joining the Clippers before signing with the Rockets, as he told reporters today, including Dan Woike of the Orange County Register (Twitter link). The Clippers reportedly reached out to Smith’s representatives shortly after his release from the Pistons in December. He’ll be a free agent again in the summer.
- Former Mavs and Pelicans point guard Gal Mekel wishes he’d entered the D-League when he was searching for an NBA deal after the Pelicans let him go earlier this season, tweets David Pick of Eurobasket.com. Mekel wound up signing this week with Russia’s Nizhny Novgorod.