Despite years of trade speculation involving his former teammate, when the Boston Celtics at last pulled the trigger on a Rajon Rondo trade, it caught Paul Pierce off guard.
Pierce says he was “shocked” when the C’s dealt the star point guard to the Dallas Mavericks, figuring they would instead build around their longtime floor general.
Rondo was the last remaining member of the team that won the 2008 NBA title.
Per the Boston Herald:
“I was a little bit surprised, especially because trade season starts close to All-Star or after All-Star break,” Pierce said. “Not a lot of trades happen in mid-December. You know, teams are trying to find their stride. But we had a chance to talk. We had our weekly mass text, and he understood the situation. The Celtics were either going to go in one direction, build around him, or continue with the youth movement. So I think Rondo understood it. […] I was shocked definitely, because I thought this was a year they were going to maybe this summer find some pieces to put around him. But he had a great run in Boston, and as long as he’s happy, that’s all that matters.”
Pierce believes the inability to add to Rondo led to him being subtracted.
“I think so,” he said. “On top of him being a free agent. So it was a combination of things, I think. […] And Danny (Ainge, the Celts’ president of basketball operations) and Wyc (Grousbeck, a co-owner), they’ve got to make business moves. You know, ‘Do we pay Rondo for the long term and still not be able to build around him, or do we build around the young guys that we’ve got here.’ It’s a tough decision when you’re in that situation as a general manager or owner.”