Mavericks land Rajon Rondo in trade with Celtics

JIMMY GOLEN, AP Sports Writer

BOSTON (AP) – The Dallas Mavericks acquired point guard Rajon Rondo from the Boston Celtics Thursday night in a trade that erased the final remnant of Boston’s last NBA championship while giving Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavs a chance at another title.

The Celtics sent Rondo and forward Dwight Powell to Dallas for Brandan Wright, Jameer Nelson, Jae Crowder, two draft picks and a $12.9 million trade exception.

“Welcome to Rajon Rondo, the newest member of the Dallas Mavericks,” team owner Mark Cuban wrote on the social media application Cyber Dust shortly before the official announcement. Cuban also thanked the three departing players, calling them “amazing players and better people.”

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Boston got a first-round pick in next year’s draft and a second-rounder in 2016. The Celtics have eight first-round picks in the next four years, acquiring the draft choices in trades for Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce and even coach Doc Rivers as they dismantled the team anchored by the New Big Three, a unit that led the franchise to its unprecedented 17th NBA title in 2008.

“We would not have won Banner 17 without Rajon and will always consider him one of our most valuable Celtics,” the team’s owners said in a joint statement. “We will always cherish the time he was here.”

The Mavericks get a four-time all-star to team with Nowitzki, Monta Ellis, Chandler Parsons and Tyson Chandler in a deal that they hope will make them an instant contender. Dallas won its only NBA title in 2011 and has not won a playoff series since.

The Mavericks are 19-8 this season and occupy third place in the Southwest Division. They are sixth in the Western Conference.

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The trade has been years in the making, with Boston shopping Rondo every time a coach grew tired of his moods or his contract expectations grew too large. But until now no team has offered enough to pry Rondo loose from the Celtics.

Celtics general manager Danny Ainge found a partner in Mavericks Coach Rick Carlisle, Ainge’s teammate when both played for the Celtics.

Rondo, 28, joined the rebuilding Celtics as the 21st overall pick out of Kentucky in 2006 and became the point guard for an NBA champion in his second year when Boston acquired Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett the next summer. They helped the Celtics reach the NBA finals again two years later.

With the once-proud franchise mired in what now looks to be an extended rebuilding process, Rondo became more valuable as a trading chip. Due to be a free agent at the end of the season, he was reportedly expecting a contract at or near the NBA maximum.

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Rondo has averaged 11 points, 8.5 assists and 4.7 rebounds over his career. He missed the second half of the 2012-13 season and the first half of last season to have reconstructive knee surgery, and then reportedly fell in the shower in Las Vegas on the eve of training camp this year and missed all of the preseason.

In 22 games this season for Boston, Rondo had an NBA-best 10.8 assists per game and also averaged 8.3 points and 7.5 rebounds.

Nelson, who signed a two-year, $5.5 million deal last summer after 10 seasons in Orlando, was starting at point guard for Dallas, averaging 7.3 points and 4.1 assists while shooting 37 percent from the field.

Wright has played about 19 minutes a game, averaging 8.8 points, 4.1 rebounds and 1.6 blocks. Crowder has averaged 3.6 points per game for Dallas.

Powell has totaled nine points and nine minutes in five games for Boston this season as the Celtics (9-14) opened their second season under new coach Brad Stevens.

AP Basketball Writer Jon Krawczynski and AP Sports Writer Stephen Hawkins contributed to this report.