It’s probably true that Rajon Rondo was joking when he offered up some rather candid analysis of his relationship with new (for him) coach George Karl.
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“It’s not been going too well. We got into a couple arguments the last couple of days. Hopefully, we continue to talk, and it will get better.”
And the video:
Sacramento Kings beat reporter Jason Jones threw some water on the statement as well:
So Rondo was busting out a batch of dry humor to help fan the flames that just about every reporter or NBA observer expects to light up as the season moves along. A regular Charles Grodin, that guy, already cracking on the supposed tension between him and his strong-willed coach.
Or, maybe Rondo wasn’t joking. Maybe they have butted heads already. So what?
Coaches clash with their players, and ex-point guards (as Karl is) often clash with their point guards. Ex-All-Stars clash with their coaches, and coaches with a litany of wins to their name (1142, in Karl’s case) tend to clash with players that dare test the word of coaches with a litany of wins (again, that’s 1142 wins).
On top of that, Rajon Rondo has fought with his two previous coaches – the brilliant Doc Rivers and Rick Carlisle – and George Karl has butted heads with stars dating back decades. We’re not just talking Carmelo Anthony, Gary Payton and Sam Cassell, youngsters. We’re going back to World B. Free with this one.
The issue here is that this is the least of Sacramento’s worries at this point. If anything, we’d be worried if they weren’t having a crusty back and forth – because someone needs to get into Rajon Rondo’s head straight away. And Karl, who is going all out for Don Nelson’s record for coaching victories (possibly to the detriment of the Kings organization) wouldn’t be holding back. Which, sometimes, is good.
Sometimes. We’ll see.
What Kings fans should be worried about is the master organizational turnover that owner Vivek Ranadive has pushed through since taking over the club. They should be worried about a front office full of neophytes, of former star players with no experience handling the on-court personnel choices. They should be worried about giving up three serviceable players and draft pick switcheroos for the chance at free agent cash to sign Rajon Rondo – who cannot shoot and missed over 60 percent of his free throws last season. They need to be worried about why a billionaire decided that he didn’t need to pay Dean Oliver. They need to worry about Vlade Divac’s ascension.
They should be worried about this … remember this?
Around the draft, several front-office executives and player agents expressed frustration about dealing with Divac on instances involving the trading and drafting of players. Divac is largely unfamiliar with the collective bargaining and salary-cap rules, causing him to struggle with grasping the machinations of negotiating and completing deals.
“It was a problem, but it wasn’t Vivek and George, it was me and George,” Divac said. “I respect my coach and I think he’s great, but he has to trust me to do my job.”
That’s your main concern, Sacramento.
Rajon Rondo was always going to be trouble, even if his game that has eluded him since his 2013 ACL tear returns to full force. The Kings bought into this when they essentially signed him to a make-good contract at a rate ($9.5 million) that opposing teams probably weren’t falling over themselves to compete with.
Kings fans should be worried about Karl’s attempts to deal DeMarcus Cousins without the approval to do so, they should be worried about Divac paying players into their 30s (Marco Belinelli figures to age well, but …), and they should be worried about Darren Collison’s hip. And the first rounder that they might have to give Chicago in June. And the fact that Philadelphia could swap picks with the team between now and 2018.
Not Rajon Rondo and George Karl. Perhaps because we’re so cynical as it already comes when discussing the prospects of this team that we’re sloughing this probable joke off as innocuous, but the hand-wringing seems a bit much.
Because these are going to go at it, and it’s going to be glorious to behold.
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