The Dallas Mavericks got so frustrated with Rajon Rondo by the end of the season that the team made up an injury to send him to the bench and the players opted not to give him a playoff share, according to reports. The two sides have already "mutually agreed to part ways" this offseason, but now it appears that breakup was inevitable.
Rondo was benched after Game 2 of the Mavericks' first-round series against the Houston Rockets and didn't play again as Dallas was eliminated in five games. The team claimed that a back injury had sidelined Rondo indefinitely, but Tim MacMahon of ESPN Dallas reports that was simply to "save face" after the two sides decided to part ways.
"The truth was that the Mavs didn’t want Rondo, who was going to be replaced in the starting lineup regardless, pouting and rubbing off on other players, [Monta] Ellis in particular," MacMahon wrote. "Essentially, the Mavs made a drastic move in an attempt to do damage control on a chemistry crisis."
Being forced to the bench by a nonexistent injury is one thing, but it's another to have your teammates cut you out of a playoff share. That's what happened with Rondo and the Mavs this year, per Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News.
For the playoffs, participating players receive shares of the revenue created by the league, with varying dollar figures for each round. Distribution of playoff shares is typically determined by the players, and in this case, Rondo's teammates agreed not to give him his share.
"Players determine how the team's playoff shares are divided. The players did not vote to exclude Rondo, the source said. They were simply presented with a list that did not include him, and there were no objections," reports MacMahon.
Being excluded from playoff shares isn't unprecedented, but the circumstances seem to be different from past instances. In 2012, the Mavericks voted not to offer Lamar Odom a playoff share, but he was dismissed from the team months before the postseason while dealing with personal issues. In 1980, the Los Angeles Lakers voted to give Spencer Haywood just one-quarter of a playoff share because of repeated substance abuse.
Rondo never reportedly had any significant issues off the court, although his lack of chemistry with his teammates was noticeable throughout the season. Rondo often butted heads with head coach Rick Carlisle, too, leaving him without many obvious allies in the locker room.
The Mavericks are in offseason mode after being eliminated by the Rockets on Tuesday night and they're distancing themselves from Rondo as a part of that. His tenure with the team just didn't work out, and after rumors circulated that the team would have to choose between Rondo and Carlisle, it became obvious what would come next. Dallas was never going to let go the coach who led the team to its only championship in 2011.
What's next for both Dallas and Rondo is uncertain, but now we're getting a better idea of just how bad things got by the end of the season.
SB Nation presents: As the playoffs intensify, so do the fights