He could have either taken in the lottery-bound Celtics tilt with the lottery-bound Sacramento Kings Saturday, or he could have enjoyed the night under the bright lights of Los Angeles.
He reportedly opted for the latter (who wouldn't?). Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald had the details:
The Celtics are not taking it as a major issue, but the team is still hoping to straighten things out with Rajon Rondo after his decision to stay in Los Angeles and not accompany the team to Sacramento for Saturday’s game.
While some were displeased by the move, for which Rondo did not receive official permission, others pointed out he was not scheduled to play in the game anyway (on the second night of a back-to-back), and that he may have simply been making some assumptions based on precedent. Multiple sources say he remained in LA for a birthday celebration. He turned 28 on Saturday.
From a public relations view, this looks pretty bad.
Remember, just last month he was named the 15th captain in franchise history. It's hard to lead the Celtics into Sacramento from the Sunset Strip.
You could argue about how much of an impact he could actually make from the sideline, but that's a tree he wouldn't want to bark up. Not when undrafted rookie Phil Pressey and combo guard Jerryd Bayless were the only natural backcourt players to see the floor for Boston.
Rondo wouldn't have needed to see the floor to dissect the game better than Pressey or Bayless could. He would, however, have at least needed to be present somewhere inside the Sleep Train Arena.
The point guard didn't seem overly concerned about the incident.
"We already talked about it,” Rondo said, via Bulpett. “There’s nothing to talk about.”
Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge wasn't as quick to dismiss it, though.
"I plan on talking to Rondo when he gets back into town,” Ainge told Bulpett. “I’ll find out more about what went into it, and then we’ll handle it internally."
What might that internal handling entail?
Perhaps a team-imposed fine, but that could be risky. Ainge has centered his rebuilding plans around Rondo, publicly at least, so he really can't afford to come down too hard on him for what may have been a misunderstanding.
Then again, this is a pretty bad blunder by someone filling a leadership position.
"At the very least, Rondo should have known better, and should have communicated his plans to the team so that this never became an issue," NBC Sports' Brett Pollakoff wrote.
Unfortunately for the C's, it is an issue now, but there's a chance it's not one that will end with any discipline. Rondo may well get off the hook unscathed, but I'd be surprised if the Celtics don't come out of this situation without guidelines in place for the next time this happens.
In that sense, maybe this will become yet another assist Rondo has given this franchise.
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