The Dallas Mavericks have reported that point guard Rajon Rondo has been suspended one game for his on-court altercation with head coach Rick Carlisle. The dispute stemmed from Rondo’s refusal to listen to Carlisle’s play calling from the sideline. Rondo ignored the coach, bringing the ball up the floor and forcing Carlisle to blow a timeout. During the timeout, Carlisle stormed onto the court screaming at Rondo.
Carlisle’s approach resulted in Rondo retaliating and shouting back at the head coach. The exchange lasted the majority of the timeout and ended with assistant coach Jamahl Mosley standing in front of Rondo to prevent any further argument.
The dispute didn’t stop there—Rondo and Carlisle continue their fight in the locker room after the game. As a result, Rondo was suspended for the Mavs 104-87 loss to the Atlanta Hawks on February 25th.
“It’s an emotional game, and we had a difference of opinion,” said Carlisle after the game. “There was an exchange, and then in my mind, it was over.”
Rondo was held out for the rest of the game.
Rondo only recently joined the Mavericks, coming over in the blockbuster trade with the Boston Celtics on December 18th. The Mavs brought in the four-time All-Star in hopes of helping them advance further in the tight Western Conference. If Rondo and Carlisle cannot make their relationship work, this could be a huge roadblock for the Mavericks.
“The events of last night are now in the past,” said Carlisle during his pregame interview the night after the incident. “We’ve got to move forward. I need to say this clearly: He is an extremely important part of our team. Our efforts to get to the highest possible level largely hinge on him playing and playing well with him. He needs to play well with us, and we need to play well with him. It’s a two-way street.”
Rondo and Carlisle clearly have their problems, but there is no room for error in the midst of the Western Conference playoff race. If the Mavericks cannot keep their team together they will lose everything they’ve strived for this season.