I wouldn't say the Mavericks practice court was abnormally excited -- they're often boisterous and loud -- but it was a fun time Friday on the floor of the Mavericks practice court. Darrell Armstrong was bouncing around everywhere. The Mavericks have a bell by the training table around the corner from the Gatorade refrigerator, and they ring it when a player hits 20-of-25 3-pointers. Richard Jefferson hit 20 for the first time this year, and when Barea did the same, Armstrong rang it so hard he broke the handle of the bell.
Rick Carlisle immediately said he wasn't going to comment on Rajon Rondo, deferring to the press conference tonight, but he did talk about the chances he will play Saturday against the Spurs.
"Well, we think there's a good chance," he said. "It's not for sure. Everybody's got to clear physicals. You never know, but understanding is that Boston's trying to get that done from their end and we're going to try to get it done here, so we'll see."
Dirk, Chandler Parsons and Tyson Chandler also spoke. Here's a full quoteboard -- we'll have another one after Rajon Rondo's presser tonight.
On getting Rajon Rondo: "Anytime you can bring in an elite point guard like him, it's going to be beneficial to your team. He's been doing it for a long time. I know from experience coming from another team, it might take a little bit and it's going to take a lot of work, but he's such a professional and such an elite point guard and player, I'm sure he'll mesh right in and we got good guys to help him out with anything he's going to need, just make him feel as comfortable as possible as early as possible."
On the starting five now: "Oh no, it's very exciting. Mark (Cuban) made it clear that he was dedicated to building a championship team. This is a prime example of him executing that and taking one more step closer to that. I'm just excited for him to get here and for him to start practicing and playing with us. Like I said, he's one of the better point guards in the league, so to add him already to our extremely good offense, it's exciting."
On how the offense changes with Rondo: "Nothing, man. I just keep running the floor, keep spacing the floor. Just watching him on film, he finds guys that cut hard and play hard and move without the ball and he'll find you. I think our offense is perfect for him with just how we space the floor. The four guys around him at all times are going to be very good offensive players. I think we'll feed off of each other and make the game easy for each other. I think it's a perfect it."Dirk part 2
On the trade: "Anytime you have a chance to grab a top point guard in this league, you got to go for it. I think he's a competitor, a warrior. He plays hurt. He's a winner, so he brings a lot of great things and I always hate losing teammates. B-Wright has been unbelievable for us since he got here. Jameer, good dude. Jae worked really hard and has a bright future in this league. But we understand you got to give to get in this league. And now we move forward with a new point guard. It's going to take him awhile to get used to his teammates, but he's one of the smartest players that there is on the court. He's obviously a pass-first guy, so we should all enjoy playing with him and enjoy playing off of him.
On the similarities between Kidd and Rondo: "They're both great passers, they're good defenders, they're quick and strong. And definitely pass-first guys. Guards like that - I played with Steve, J-Kidd and now Rondo - they almost thrive more from getting another guy an open shot at the basket than scoring themselves. That's how they think in their head. It should be fun for all of us. We got to keep moving and get used to probably some crazy passes that we haven't seen around here in awhile.
On how this will effect the offense: "I don't know. It's something I look forward to seeing how it's going to work. With Monta being a ballhandler a lot for us and Rondo's going to need the ball some in his hands, we're just going to put the ball in the playmakers' hands. You can never have enough playmakers off the dribble in this league, guys that can break down their guys and get in the lane, you can never have enough of those guys. So we'll just have to wait and see. We're not going to completely reinvent an offense. We're going to keep some of the stuff we're doing, but we got to tweak some stuff here and there for him. Run some stuff that he's used to. That's up to coach Carlisle and the staff, which we all believe in. So we'll have to see how it all comes together. But I'm excited for it.
On Rondo's defensive impact: "I think he's showed in his career that he's a fierce, fierce competitor. In the West, that position is as loaded as it gets, so he's going to have his hands full every night and I think he's going to look forward to that. As we've seen throughout his career, when the competition gets higher, he raises his level and he's at his best in playoffs and big-time games. That's exactly what you want. On a team that has aspirations to go high and play deep in the playoffs, you need a guy who gets better as it gets later in the year. I think he's quick enough to guard these guys, and he's smart. He's going to use his smarts out there. There will be some nights where guards are really, really good, and it's not on one guy to stop somebody. We've got to be better with our rotations. We've got to have Tyson guard the rim a little better, and we've all got to rotate around better than we have here in the first, whatever, 25, 30 games and we'll go from there."
On whether the Mavs are the team to beat in the West: "Ah, no, we want to keep flying under the radar. There's other great teams. The West, I don't know how it does it, but it just keeps getting better. ... It's stacked and you've got to compete every night and see how it comes together and go from there."
On the team 'going for it': "I mean, me being 36, I don't have time to wait another two or three years. We made that pretty clear by bringing Parsons in, by bringing Tyson back, that we want to go for it these last couple of years of my career. I think it gives us a chance. Like I said, to bring a fierce competitor in like that should only be good for us."
On whether this feels a little like the Kidd trade: "It was tough a little bit back then with Kidd coming in. It took him a while to get used to everything and the system. So we've got to make it as comfortable as we can for him, if it's on the court or in the locker room, the city. Just wherever he goes, he's got to feel comfortable, comfortable with his surroundings, because I always felt like if you don't feel well off the court, it's hard to bring it on the court. We've got to make it easy for him as teammates. I know we're going to tell him to do what he does, and that's compete at the highest level at both ends of the floor, make his teammates better, find me a lot on the offensive end and he'll be okay."
On Rondo's lack of shooting: "I think he's been used to guys obviously not playing him as a shooter and he's still found ways for the 10 years he's been in the league to get in the lane, get assists, get in the lane on the break, break down guys. Even though obviously most guys go under his pick-and-rolls, he still finds ways to be effective to get in the lane and collapse the defense. We don't want him to play a complete new game and start shooting 3s. We want him to do what Rondo does, and that's get in the lane and create havoc for the defense and make us better."
On the three guys who were traded away: "Well, they'll make significant contributions. We're really proud of Brandan Wright's progress over three and a half years. He's developed into a guy that fortunately everybody wants on their team and Boston wasn't going to do this deal if he wasn't in it. And so that's a loss for us, but when you get really good players in return, you got to give up really good players. Crowder's another one, as a second-round pick, he exceeded everybody's expectations around the league and he's become a very sought after player and did a lot of great things here. Jameer Nelson, even though he wasn't here that long, had a significant impact on a team that's got a really good record. He was a starter and one of our leaders. We thank them for their efforts and their contributions. We know that they'll do great and this is a trade that I really feel is a terrific trade for both teams and those are the kind of deals you want to do."
On what the Rondo trade does to his backup center position: "Well, Greg Smith has been sitting here waiting for an opportunity. And so he steps up into the picture. He's worked hard and he'll get a chance. We need him at this point. Beyond that, we'll keep our eyes open around the league for opportunities if there are some. We now have an open roster spot so as time goes forward, we'll see what's what."
On the possibility of Jermaine O'Neal: "Well he's had a terrific year, had a real solid year last year for Golden State despite having some injury issues. I have not talked to him yet myself. It's a possibility, but I don't want to jump the gun out of respect to him and his family, so we'll see. It's certainly one option."
On bringing in Rondo: "I think he's going to being a different dynamic to this team. I think he's one of the top points guards in this game. He understands what it takes to win. He's going to have a bunch of weapons around him. And up top, he'll be great for us defensively."
On Rondo being a pass-first guy: "I love that because the type of weapons that he has surrounding him will make his life easier. He's a one-man fast break. He gets the ball out in transition, always has his head up, can make any pass in the game. He'll help our scorers."
On how his addition effects the offense: "We're the top-scoring offense, but it's always room to improve. And of course he's known for his defense and he'll bring that intensity. He'll shake some things up for us, which will be good. We're going to need it, especially in the Western Conference, the type of guards that we face on a nightly basis."
On whether this gives the Mavs enough to succeed: "I wasn't concerned. I know it was going to be a process, a growth period that we had to go through. This definitely makes us stronger. There's no doubt about that. Just his pedigree and the fact that he's been there and done it, understands what it takes to win. Having another guy like that can only help you."
On how Rondo helps take pressure off him defensively: "He helps a lot because he sees things out there. I've competed against him for years now, always been a fan of him, the way he sees the game at the guard position, the way he's able to lock down one side of the floor. And having a guy like that, being able to communicate and bounce things off of him, things I'm seeing from the back end and what he's seeing up top, it should be a good dynamic."
On developing chemistry with Rondo: "I had a chance to play with him a little bit in the World Games before he had a death in the family so he had to go back. But the thing is, I've been there and I kind of understand. He's been in a situation where you go from competing for a championship every year to rebuilding. And it's tough. I feel like he's going to be very motivated. He hasn't had this type of talent around him since he won a championship. And at this point in his career, this point in my career and a lot of other guys on this roster, you understand when you go through years like he's been through the last couple of years and the year I went through before I came back. You can't take this for granted. When you have a roster that can actually compete for a championship, you've got to go for it because you never know how long it's going to last and when it's going to happen again."
On whether Dallas is the team to beat in the West: "I'm not going to say that. I think San Antonio's the team to beat. They're the champions. Until they're dethroned, they're the champions and they deserve every bit. I think with all the speculation of who's this and who's that, everybody can stop. The Spurs are it until June, until somebody can prove them wrong."
On losing Wright, Crowder and Nelson: "Any time a trade happens it's tough. It's a tough business. The great thing about this organization is it's treated like family and you start to bond and really grow together. And you see a guy like Jameer have to go, and Brandan Wright who was my workout partner, and Jae, who brought energy and I thought was the ultimate professional. It was incredible to see that as a young player, coming in and approaching the game like that nowadays. It's very tough. Last night it was bittersweet because I knew that ultimately it's making our team better and I'm thrilled by the acquisition. At the same time, it's always tough the business side of it because you grow to like and respect your teammates and then to watch them go, that's always tough."