August 8, 2007
He learned about the trade that changed his life the same way you did: on the news.
Rajon Rondo was home shooting jump shots in Louisville, Ky., when word came down that Al Jefferson, Ryan Gomes, Sebastian Telfair, Gerald Green, and Theo Ratliff were out of Boston, and Kevin Garnett was in.
While the rest of the basketball world began handicapping the blockbuster deal and wondering whether the skinny Celtics point guard with the suspect jumper who just completed his rookie year could handle the enormous responsibilities that suddenly had been thrust upon him, Rondo was breaking down the trade in far simpler terms.
His two initial thoughts: A. I'm still here; B. My friends are gone.
"We were a pretty close team, you know?" Rondo said. "Al Jefferson, Allan Ray ... those were the guys I hung out with. Everybody was so young, so we could all relate to each other. A bunch of us lived in the same complex in Waltham at the beginning of the season. It's kind of tough to watch them all go."
If he is feeling additional pressure to perform now that the roster has been strip-mined for a Garnett gem, Rondo certainly masks it well. He no longer will have Delonte West, sent to Seattle on draft night, to mentor him. He no longer will have Telfair behind him, pushing him for minutes. Already we are wondering whether there will be enough shots to go around for Garnett, Ray Allen, and Paul Pierce.
The job to distribute those shots falls in Rondo's lap.