OAKLAND, Calif. – While Rajon Rondo continued to say publicly he was committed to staying with the Boston Celtics, Rondo's former teammate and close friend, Kendrick Perkins, knew he truly felt different.
"He wanted out, but he would never say that though," Perkins told Yahoo Sports.
Perkins and Rondo were teammates with the Celtics from 2006-11 and still remain close. Perkins said Rondo expressed his excitement about his trade to the Dallas Mavericks in a brief phone conversation on Thursday.
"Going to nice weather, a contender," Perkins said. "Hopefully, he will do what he got to do in terms of his contract extension. It's a great opportunity. I'm happy for him. I'm not happy he is in the West, but I'm happy for him. His time was probably up in Boston. He did his due.
"He was cool, happy. He was excited. He's going to a contender. He's 29 [years old] so rebuilding is out of the question now."
Rondo could be the missing link to a talented starting lineup in Dallas that includes Monta Ellis, Dirk Nowitzki, Chandler Parsons and Tyson Chandler. Rondo fills a much-needed void at point guard, should help the Mavs' poor defense and gives Dallas a pass-first guard on a team not lacking in scorers. Dallas (19-8) currently sits sixth in the deep Western Conference and next plays the San Antonio Spurs on Saturday.
"He makes them a better team," Perkins said. "He is going to be able to pass for open shots, so he is going to be dangerous, especially with the lineup he got with him. It's going to be pretty sick.
"They were already a good team. He made them a great team in my opinion."
Rondo was the last player remaining on the Celtics from their 2008 NBA championship team that included Perkins, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen. Perkins was the first of that starting five, which played in two NBA Finals, to be traded when he was dealt to the Thunder in 2011.
"It was fun while it lasted and fun to be a part of," Perkins said. "I still talk to most of these guys to this day."