Did Rajon Rondo Cost Himself Free Agent Payday With Poor Play Against Rockets?

Rajon Rondo has been ruled out indefinitely by the Dallas Mavericks for the rest of the playoffs. Now the question becomes, is his career finished there as well?

ESPN is reporting that the Dallas Mavericks have ruled Rondo out due to a back injury sustained last night while guarding James Harden. But as Stephen A. Smith points out, there isn’t anyone that believes injury is the reason. Rather, there is a feeling across the board that Rajon’s benching has everything to do with the fact that he and coach Rick Carlisle do not see eye to eye.

Rondo played only 34 seconds in the second half of the Mavericks Game 2 loss to the Rockets after he picked up two quick fouls including a technical. Overall, Rajon was on the court for a mere ten minutes the entire game.

“He sustained a back injury basically at the 11-minute mark of the first quarter last night,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “He attempted to take a charge on James Harden, hit the ground and from that point going forward probably should not have played any more, but he did. He wasn’t able to play his game or play as well as he can play. Today, it’s not good, so he is going to seek additional opinions. That’s where things are at with him.”

Of course, Carlisle also shared more than just an analysis on Rondo’s back injury last night as well. When asked point blank by Tim McMahon whether or not Rajon would ever wear a Mavs uniform again, the head coach answered bluntly, “No, I don’t.”

Which leaves Rondo’s free agent status in murky waters come this off season. Originally, it had been reported by Inquistr that the Lakers were going to pursue Rondo hard when the season ended. But how could any team justify spending big free agent dollars on a player who seemingly quit on his coach and his team?

The Washington Post offered up a different take however that might help clear Rajon’s reputation as a disgruntled player, thought it may not make signing him any easier an option. They claim Rondo’s poor play is completely because of his failing body and not his clashes with coach Rick Carlisle.

“Rondo was in a more intense war between the dynamic player he used to be and the diminished player he has become,” the article argues. Now we’ll see the repercussions of that war when Rajon Rondo hits the open market.

[Photo credit: Ronald Martinez / Getty Images]