Via Ric Bucher, who caught up with Rajon en route to Alcatraz, where Red Bull, one of Rondo’s endorsement partners, hosted a one-on-one tournament:
“It was great to practice every day against the best young talent in the league, a veteran like Chauncey Billups and play for a Hall of Fame coach [Mike Krzyzewski],” Rondo said. “But some of these guys hadn’t played since April. Lamar [Odom] and I had just got out of Game 7. And next season is right around the corner. I feel like I had to take advantage of the opportunity I have right now to win another championship. It’s not often you get to play with four Hall of Famers. Another couple of years and I won’t have that.”
As you probably know, Rondo withdrew from the team shortly after Coach K benched him for an entire exhibition game. Do you believe Rajon that he never really wanted to play to begin with, and that—as Bucher details elsewhere in the story)—Rondo’s agent pushed him to do it?
I don’t particularly care, and I get why NBA players (and their teams) don’t always want to play in international competitions. The NBA season’s a grind, and players are entitled to relax during the summer if they prefer.