The presser was supposed to start at 4:45, but Rajon Rondo didn't walk in until 5:43. Give him a break; he's still on Eastern Time. If we consider that, he was actually two minutes early.
The real reason for his delay was Friday night traffic between his physical and the American Airlines Center. A physical he passed, meaning he'll play Saturday against the Spurs in his home debut.
The press conference lasted nearly 24 minutes -- if you'd like to watch the video, you can see it on Mavs.com right here.
There were jokes -- "We got Dwight," Cuban cracked while gesturing at Powell, when asked about his previous free agent shortcomings -- and there were awkward moments -- the opening question of the entire press conference was, "What was the main reason you wanted to come to Dallas." There's several thousand words here in chronological order and I know you probably don't want to read them all, so here are a few highlights.
Mark Cuban said they'd be trying to get Rondo for a couple of years now. He said Dwight Powell was a player they liked and looked into buying a second round pick to grab him last summer.
Rajon Rondo said he's not going to dominate the ball here.
Cuban and Carlisle were both pleased that the trade is happening in December instead of February, giving the Mavericks quite a bit more time to bring everything together.
When Cuban asks Dwight Powell to describe his game (stretch four and five who can guard both positions and shoot 3-pointers), he's relatively modest about it. Cuban knocks him, saying, "I gave you a chance to brag!"
Rick Carlisle: "This is a big day in our franchise's history. It's a blockbuster trade. We're sending three players who have been a big part of what we've been doing the last three years, who have been developing and getting better and grown before our eyes, to Boston for two guys that, one guy that we know is going to help us a lot right away in Rajon Rondo. And Dwight Powell is a guy who we had in for draft workouts last year who we really liked in the draft, and a guy that they did now want to give up.
"We're very excited. I feel like Rajon is a guy that impacts the game in so many different ways. He's a very intelligent player, he's a very experienced player, and he's a multiple All-Star. And so a guy like that would fit into any team extraordinarily well and I know he'll fit in well here. We're thrilled."
Rajon Rondo: "Obviously I'm very excited to be here. Coming from a great situation in Boston, I'm very thankful for all the things they did for me and the fan base. But I'm ready to start a new chapter here with the Dallas Mavericks and I'm very excited to be here."
Dwight Powell: "Similar to Rondo, I'm very excited to be here. Obviously I'm a young player and I've moved around a little bit. But I'm hoping to stay here for as long as I can and I'm excited for the opportunity."
On what excites him about the Mavericks: "They're obviously a championship-caliber team, the players they have on their roster, the style of play, the coach is a guy that doesn't control much of the game. He lets the players make the plays. Everybody is on chemistry and intelligence from what I've seen and what I've played against. Those guys play extremely hard. They don't need much help putting the ball in the basket, but for me that's my job is to make guys easy out there on the court to play with."
On how he fits with the offense: "Anywhere I go I think I'm able to help guys make it easier for themselves offensively. Just get the ball out of my hands quicker and let guys make plays. I know Monta is a great guy who makes plays himself, along with Chandler. I think my job here will probably make Tyson's job a lot easier offensively going in and drawing two (defenders), and being able to play with an athlete and being able to finish and run the floor as well. I think I can help complete this team."
On how he fits into the Western Conference echelon of point guards. "Whatever game I'm going to have to bring it. In the Eastern Conference, it's not like they made life soft, but it's night and day when you compare the East to the West point guards. I think that's one reason why they brought me here is to get some defensive stops, check the best opposing guards on the floor. That's my job and I take full responsibly and I'm looking forward to it."
On how Rondo compares to Jason Kidd: "There are definitely similarities, but they're different players. Rajon is a different style. Jason's career was a very long career. The similarities, I think, are that Jason kept developing his game into his late 20s and 30s. He was a guy that was not known as a guy that was s aveyr good shooter, but developed into a guy that was a consistent 3-point shooter, and that was one of the things that defined his Hall of Fame career. Rajon is a younger guy at 28 - he's one of the youngest guys on our team now. That's how quickly things change in this league.
"I see him as a guy who hasn't reached the ceiling as a player as good as he's been. I talked to Brad Stevens about him, I've talked to Danny Ainge about him - those guys are both good friends. They say this guy is a relentless worker, and a winner and one of the best competitors they've been around. So we're just thrilled to have him here. One of the other things I think that's really interesting about him and Jason Kidd is they're two of the more resourceful guys you're ever going to see in basketball. They just find ways to affect the game and help teams win. Guys like that you welcome into any situation."
On how his relationship with the Celtics helped the trade happen: "I'm the coach. I don't get involved in the trades that much, but Donnie's relationship with Danny, they worked together when Danny was coach in Phoenix. They go back a long way. And so there's a familiarity there that certainly didn't hurt the process. But at the end of the day we had to give up a lot to get these guys. We had to give up two really good young players with a starting point guard along with some picks, but we felt it was more than worth it. This is the kind of opportunity you don't get very often, to trade for a guy of Rajon Rondo's caliber midseason. It doesn't happen that often. And we like Dwight, too."
On being back with a contender: "It was very challenging these last couple years. Each year, you start training camp and all you talk about is winning a championship. And being realistic these last two years, our focus was just making the playoffs. Me being a competitor, I feel like if you put four guys out there that play extremely hard, we can win any game. That's how I've been since I've been in the league. I've been fortunate enough to play for future hall of famers and great teams and a great coach in Doc Rivers. 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."
On how he feels physically: "I feel like I've gotten better. I take the weight room more seriously now, religiously every day, whether it's my lower body or upper body. I'm taking better care of my body better. I do feel like I'm getting better, closer to where I used to be, if not better."
On whether defense turns him on (yes, that exact wording): "It's the dirty part of the game that (some) guys don't take pride in. I take pride in defense. And a guy like Tyson Chandler behind me is going to make me look a lot better than I probably am."
On finally getting a major trade to work: "Obviously having him here is a huge step forward for us. He's a winner. He's a competitor. I talked to Michael Finley who played with him in Boston and he said he's got one of the highest basketball IQs. And we talked to Monta before we pulled the trigger and he was like, the dude plays hard. Get him here. And so when you have guys you play against or with speak so highly with you and you have a championship pedigree, you can't have enough of those guys. When an opportunity comes up to get somebody of his caliber, you got to do it. So we're excited to have him."
On Rondo not being a rental: "Obviously, we wouldn't give up picks if we didn't think it was long term. We're past the days of rent-a-player. We want him to be here for a long time and we want to earn his desire to stay here. We have to convince him that he wants to be here because we know we'll want him. We're going to do everything possible to keep him here forever. He's one of the youngest guys on the team."
Rondo: "I went from one of the oldest to one of the youngest."
More Cuban on Rondo: "If he's not the definition of a cornerstone, I don't know what is. But let me qualify that. With him side by side with Monta and Chandler, there's no one guy who will be the cornerstone of the team. So having a good young nucleus -- for us the young nucleus used to be 35. To get that number down to 28 or 29 is something we want to keep together."
On whether Dallas will be a long-term home: "I'm definitely excited and optimistic about the situation here. And like Mark was saying, being alongside a guy like Monta and they just re-signed Chandler, the future seems bright and I'm just looking forward to winning a championship as fast as possible and hopefully we can keep this team together."
On how he fits with Monta Ellis: "He's tough. He's one of the toughest guys to stay in front of. Very quick. He can create his own shot. He can create shots for teammates. He's definitely one of the best at drawing free throws and getting to the free throw line. I'm not going to dominate the ball too much. A guy like Monta needs the ball in his hands. He can make plays for himself. At times I'm going to have the ball. At times he's going to have the ball and I have to learn how to play alongside Monta. I'll pick up his game really fast. I'm a pretty big believer in watching film. And I'll break down his game. I'll break down Dirk's game. I'll find out where guys like to have the ball and where they're most successful."
On leaving Boston: "Well, it's been about seven years now and I've been in trade rumors. Bound to happen. Yesterday I was laying bed and my phone rung and it was Danny Ainge and I pretty much knew I had a feeling that it was that time. So it was no hard feelings. Could have been traded anywhere and they traded me to a great organization, from ownership to the coach to how they treat the players here. I've heard nothing but great things about the organization from talking to J Terry to B Bass. I'm definitely excited to be here."
On his legacy in Boston: "I believe it's a great legacy I left behind. I played extremely hard every night. I went out there and gave it all to my best for my organization and my fans. I think it showed everywhere I went in the city. The fans showed a lot of love. I can't remember one bad time I had in Boston as far as where I got negative feedback from the fans, no matter the first year we lost 18 straight or the following year we won a championship.
"The fans there are probably the best fans I've ever played for. I look forward to having the same type of treatment here in Dallas. I have nothing but great things to say about Boston. I probably went to every restaurant and ate there in Boston. Met a lot of new friends. I have a lot of friends that I developed in these past nine years. It's just been a great city, a great time in my life. Right now it's a new chapter and it's time to move on to the Mavericks."
On whether they filled in what they were missing: "Ever since I've been here Mark's been all about championships and there's no question that Rajon is a championship piece. We've been spoiled rotten in terms of point guards through the years with Steve Nash and Jason Kidd and we understand here in Dallas how important quarterback play is. To have a chance to get one of the top premiere point guards in the league at the age of 28 with a championship ring and four All-Star appearances is pretty unique and pretty special. We've paid a high price, but it was well worth it.
"The other thing that excites me is from a defensive standpoint, Rick preaches that every single day in practice. Now we've got at two of the really key positions, point guard and obviously center, we've got two very elite defenders, which is a nice statement as well."
On similarities between himself and Jason Kidd: "I do see similarities. J. Kidd is a good friend of mine. I've talked to J. Kidd in the past about being a young guy and a lot of people have always compared us since day one. Danny would always talk to me about how he coached J. Kidd and Nash back in the day, some of the similarities we had together, and what Mr. Nelson said as far as heart, J. Kidd was a competitor. He wanted to win. He did a lot of intangibles on the court to make his teammates and his team win games, so I would say I compare to that. I love to compete, I love to win.
"We joked about me being the second-leading rebounder on the team coming in, so J. Kidd was a great rebounder, obviously he's great at getting those triple doubles. I've been fortunate enough to get a couple of them myself, so it's a very exciting year for me. New start, mid season, but I'm ready to get after it and learn and try to catch up as quick as possible."
On what makes him a good rebounder: "God-given ability, just having a knack for the ball. The way the ball's going to come off the rim, I think I have a great knack for it, how to time it. If the ball spins a certain way, I can pretty much get to where the ball is going to land or my jumping ability to time it where I get to the ball at the height of the ball where the rebound comes off, I'm able to get there. Obviously, the past couple of years, I give my bigs a lot of credit. They boxed out the guys and I jump over their backs sometimes. And then the long rebounds, three point shots are made, balls are bouncing around at the elbows, I try to pick those up as well."
On his thoughts on Dirk: "I'm excited to play with Dirk. He's still got a lot left in his tank, and he's -- if not the best power forward shooting big in the league. That makes my job a lot easier. Guys aren't going to be able to show as much. I know we had problems showing off of Dirk. He creates problems with himself offensively because of his shooting, his touch."
On what he can learn from Dirk and Tyson: "There's a lot I can learn from both of those players on both ends of the court, in the locker room and on the court. I'm looking forward to spending time with those guys and just pick up as much as I can because they obviously have an almost endless wealth of knowledge compared to me. I'm excited."
On whether he'll play Saturday against the Spurs: "Yeah, that's why I was delayed. I had like a two and a half hour physical, so I passed it. I'll be ready to go."
On how to get Rondo ready quickly: "We're going to try to spend a little time tonight with these guys and then tomorrow morning, and on the assumption all the physicals clear, Rajon will be in the starting lineup tomorrow night. We've got to get him out there and we've got to get going."
Cuban asks him to describe his game: "I think I'm athletic, I can shoot the ball. I take pride in my defense, try to guard multiple positions, rebound the ball. For the most part, just bring heart, bring effort. In the position I'm at right now, having been traded a couple of times and landing here, I'm really looking forward to the opportunity, but I also want to work as hard as I can to stay here and show my values, show my worth and contribute to this team."
Cuban: "He can shoot threes, he can rebound, he can defend. He's a stretch four in a lot of respects, a stretch five in a lot of respects. He can shoot the ball, so that's why he's here, that's why we wanted him. [to Dwight, laughing] I gave you a chance to brag."
On his gameplan for the Spurs: "Simplicity. Making it about simple things and competition. Rajon's a great competitor. This is the first time he's been traded during the season, but he knows the game, he knows what's going on. It's my job to keep it simple for him and the other guys. We just got to get ready to compete. Tomorrow's as much about competing as it is X's and O's."
On his home debut Saturday and his conversation with Danny Ainge: "Hopefully I plan I getting a great reception tomorrow. I'm excited about that, looking forward to tomorrow night, my name being called in the starting lineup. Danny and I had a good conversation, we talked about 45 minutes. Dan and I have been close the past nine years and he's always been straightforward with me. It was a pretty good conversation, I have plenty of respect for Danny and obviously he feels the same way about me. We parted ways."
On whether he cried: "No, I didn't tear up. He blinked a bunch of times."