Two sides of Rajon Rondo were on display Wednesday night, and the contrast between the images is striking.
The first, of Rondo diving for a loose ball in a 115-104 win over the Hawks, shows the best of a player fans have come to love. Tommy Heinsohn was so enthralled he gave Rondo not one but FIVE Tommy Points. Rondo had a season-high 22 points and 11 assists in the win.
Rondo dives and recovers the loose ball: "THAT'S FIVE #TOMMYPOINTS FOR RAJON RONDO!"— Tommy Heinsohn (@CSNTommy) February 27, 2014
The other image, of Rondo standing at his locker disdainfully answering questions about skipping the Kings game over the weekend to stay in Los Angeles for his birthday, is tougher to look at.
"Nobody knows the story, so keep making up every story you guys possibly can," Rondo told the media, including the affable Bill Doyle of the Worcester Telegram, who asked the question. "It's my business. It's my choice."
With those comments, Rondo reignited a debate on Twitter and sports talk radio about whether or not he's fit to lead this team for the future. Words like "petulant" were tossed around, as if Rondo is a child. A journalist I respect, Comcast's Mike Giardi, compared Rondo to former Red Sox King of Crabbiness Josh Beckett. Nevermind that Rondo attended every game this season while injured, holding a clipboard and engaging his teammates despite the fact that he --everyone -- knows the Celtics don't have much to play for in 2013-14.
Rondo did nothing to help himself -- a simple, "It was a misunderstanding, I told someone with the team but should have told coach Stevens" would have sufficed -- but the Celtics aren't helping him, either. President of basketball operations Danny Ainge told the Herald Monday that the Celtics were looking into the incident. Coach Brad Stevens said he was moving on from the incident but stopped well short of excusing Rondo's absence. All of this leads to speculation that Rondo's time in Boston might end sooner rather than later.
“All that, we’re handling internally,” said Stevens. “We’ve sat down and talked. We did that Monday. In my mind, I’m moving forward, and then when Danny [Ainge] gets back in town, they can meet and go from there.”
What do you think? Is this Rondo story much ado about nothing, or a larger reflection on his leadership? Vote in the poll below.