The Mavericks have acquired Rajon Rondo from the Celtics, the teams announced in a pair of press releases. Also heading to Dallas in the swap is Dwight Powell. Boston receives Brandan Wright, Jae Crowder, Jameer Nelson, the Mavs’ 2015 first-rounder if it falls anywhere from No. 4 to No. 14, as well as a 2016 second-round pick. If Dallas doesn’t send out the first-round pick in 2015, it’ll be top-seven protected from 2016 through 2020. The Celtics create a trade exception worth $12,909,090, the equivalent of Rondo’s salary. To accommodate the transaction, which otherwise would have left the Celtics with 15 players, the Celtics waived Vitor Faverani. The unbalanced deal leaves the Mavs with an open roster spot.
“We would like to thank Rajon for everything that he has done for the Celtics organization and the success we have experienced during his tenure with us,” Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said in the team’s statement.
This deal came together rather quickly after a report revealed last night that Ainge was willing to deal Rondo. Numerous teams, including the Lakers, Rockets, Knicks, Kings, and Pacers showed immediate interest, though Ainge was said to be looking to deal Rondo to a Western Conference team if at all possible.
With Rondo set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, and 2014 first-rounder Marcus Smart showing quite a bit of promise, trading Rondo instead of running the risk of losing him for nothing became Ainge’s best option. The Celtics had been hesitant to commit to the idea of a maximum-salary deal for Rondo, something he will likely be seeking in free agency. Rondo and his representatives have reportedly told the Mavericks that the Bill Duffy client would be inclined to sign a new deal with the team this summer, something that was likely a priority for Dallas before the team agreed to the swap.
The trade marks the end of Rondo’s eight-plus seasons in Boston, and signals that the Celtics are heading into a rebuilding phase rather than trying to retool and find another star player to pair alongside the 28-year-old guard out of Kentucky. Rondo’s career averages, all with the Celtics, are 11.0 points, 4.7 rebounds, 8.5 assists, and 1.9 steals. His career slash line is .473/.252/.614.
In adding Wright, the Celtics address one of their biggest weaknesses, which is interior defense. The 27-year-old big man is averaging 8.8 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks per game this season. His career numbers are 7.2 PPG, 3.6 RPG, and 1.0 blocks per contest. His career shooting numbers are .610/.000/.686. Wright, who is making $5MM this season, will become an unrestricted free agent this summer. Losing the 6’10” Wright leaves Dallas dangerously thin behind Tyson Chandler, which will be a concern going forward, and it could require the Mavs to make another roster move to correct the problem.
Crowder is a 24-year-old wing who is set to become a restricted free agent this summer. In a little over two seasons in the league, the former Cavs second-rounder has averaged 4.6 PPG and 2.3 RPG. His slash line is .411/.331/.710. He’ll likely compete with rookie James Young for playing time. There could be more minutes available if Ainge decides to deal Jeff Green, as he is reportedly contemplating, though Ainge has issued a denial about shopping him.
The 32-year-old Nelson has been nursing a strained shoulder this season, but has still appeared in 23 contests, all as a starter. He is making $2,732,000 this season and has a player option for 2015/16 for $2,854,940. It remains to be seen if he’ll assume the starting duties in Boston or if the team will hand over the reigns to Smart, whom they drafted with the No. 6 overall pick in this year’s NBA draft. Nelson’s career numbers are 12.4 PPG, 3.1 RPG, and 5.3 APG. His career slash line is .441/.374/.817.
Receiving the 6’11” Powell isn’t likely to solidify the Mavs’ depth in the frontcourt. He is signed through next season, but his $845,059 salary for 2015/16 is non-guaranteed. In five games this season, the rookie is averaging 1.8 points in 1.8 minutes per game. Powell has spent more time in the D-League this year than with the big club in Dallas.
Faverani hadn’t appeared in a game this season, as he is still recovering from offseason surgery on his knee. The 26-year-old big man from Brazil is still at least a month away from being able to practice, and even further away from being ready for game action. In 37 career appearances, all with the Celtics, Faverani has averaged 4.4 points and 3.5 rebounds per contest. Faverani’s $2.09MM salary for this season will stick on Boston’s books, but the Celtics avoid paying his non-guaranteed salary of $2.18MM for next year.
Photo courtesy USA Today Sports Images. Marc Stein of ESPN.com (Twitter link) first reported the deal. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports added that Powell would head to Dallas and that the Celtics would waive Faverani, as well as details about the protection on the first-rounder headed to Boston (All Twitter links). Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders noted that the Celtics would be able to create a trade exception (Twitter link).