THIS STORY HAS BEEN FORMATTED FOR EASY PRINTING
NBA All-Star notebook

Rondo omission ‘miscommunication’

Celtic says he’d love to play for Team USA

Rajon Rondo said he was never called to participate in Team USA tryouts. Rajon Rondo said he was never called to participate in Team USA tryouts. (Yoon S. Byun/Globe Staff)
By Julian Benbow
Globe Staff / February 13, 2010

E-mail this article

Invalid E-mail address
Invalid E-mail address

Sending your article

Your article has been sent.

  • E-mail|
  • Print|
  • Reprints|
  • |
Text size +

DALLAS - When Rajon Rondo wasn’t among the 27 names on the roster for the 2010-12 USA men’s basketball team, the perception was Rondo either hadn’t responded to Team USA’s invitation or that he declined.

Rondo said he never got a call.

“I haven’t spoken to anyone from USA Basketball,’’ Rondo said. “No one’s talked to my agent. I talked to my agent yesterday, and he said the same thing. He thought I said something to the media or to someone about declining to play. But I haven’t heard anything this year about USA Basketball.’’

Yesterday, both Rondo and Team USA managing director Jerry Colangelo said Rondo’s omission was the result of crossed signals. Colangelo expressed interest in having Rondo on the team, and Rondo said he would “love’’ to play.

“There may have been a little miscommunication on that one,’’ Colangelo said. “The last go-around he was unable to accept an invitation because he was going to be involved in Kendrick Perkins’s wedding. I was advised that he would not have interest but that may have been misinformation.

“But he’s a young player and there will be an opportunity in the future and we have a fluid roster to begin with. I’ve made that pretty clear. So we will revisit that. The door’s not closed.’’

Because of the wedding, neither Rondo nor Perkins worked out with Team USA last year.

“I don’t know if they took that as I didn’t want to play because I had other obligations or priorities,’’ Rondo said. “I was in the wedding, so neither of us could make it.’’

After winning gold in 2008, Chris Paul and Deron Williams are on the roster again, joined by Derrick Rose and Chauncey Billups, who withdrew from the selection process in 2008. Colangelo made reference to the team’s depth at point guard. “I believe in equity,’’ he said. “There are a lot of young point guards, and they’ve put in the time and effort.’’

Rondo is having his best season as a pro, averaging 14.3 points, 9.7 assists (fourth in the league), and 2.5 steals.

“It would be an honor to play,’’ he said. “I would go.’’

CBA meeting contentious
The executive director of the players’ association said the league tore up its proposal for a new collective bargaining agreement after a “contentious’’ 90-minute session.

But Billy Hunter said that doesn’t mean the league is closer to a lockout when the current deal expires July 1, 2011.

“No, I think that everybody has a different sense of things and nobody wants to see this thing that David Stern has worked and built, the NBA, the successful entity that it is, the brand, we’re not out to damage it or destroy it,’’ Hunter said.

“So we’re going to make every effort to get an agreement done, we just want an agreement that’s a lot more equitable and one that doesn’t have a structure that’s oppressive.’’

Hunter said the union received the proposal Jan. 29. It calls for dramatic financial changes, with Hunter saying the league seeks a “hard’’ salary cap that would eliminate the Larry Bird and midlevel exceptions that teams over the cap can use to sign players if they are willing to pay a luxury tax.

A person who had seen the proposal told the Associated Press it called for first-round picks to have their salaries cut by about one-third, would reduce the minimum salary by as much as 20 percent, and would guarantee contracts for only half their value. Also, the total value of a maximum salary would drop sharply.

The proposal rallied the players, especially after Hunter forwarded them comments from an executive who recently told CBSSports.com that, “if they don’t like the new max contracts, LeBron [James] can play football, where he will make less than the new max. [Dwyane] Wade can be a fashion model or whatever. They won’t make squat and no one will remember who they are in a few years.’’

Brush strokes
One player who never had to worry about getting Rasheed Wallace from the 3-point line and into the paint was Billups, the five-time All-Star who spent four seasons with Wallace in Detroit, winning a championship in 2004.

“Sheed and I have such an unbelievable respect for each other that he knew when it was time to get down there, I was going to demand that he get down there,’’ Billups said. “I think it takes time, though. He’s only been there [Boston] for a little while, and I don’t know if he has that same respect for anybody on the team like that yet. I don’t know. But I had a good way of getting him down there.’’

In his years with Billups, Wallace shot no less than 42.3 percent from the floor and 31.8 percent from 3-point range.

This year, he’s shooting 40.8 percent and 29.6 percent, respectively, excelling when he takes opponents to the block but struggling with his outside shot.

Dream teams
With a roster loaded with the likes of a 20-year-old Jerry Lucas, a 21-year-old Oscar Robertson, and a 22-year old Jerry West, the 1960 Olympic men’s basketball team dominated the world, winning all eight games by an average of 42.4 points. A rule change allowed Team USA to unleash Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Bird and the rest of the Dream Team on international competition in 1992.

Both teams were on the list of this year’s Hall of Fame finalists.

Johnson paid homage to the 1960 team. “They set the standard,’’ Johnson said. “Their team was probably more balanced than our team.’’

On how a fantasy matchup between the teams would play out, Johnson said, “It would have been outstanding. We probably would have bit each others’ heads off and really hurt each other because we both want to win so bad.’’

Scottie Pippen and Karl Malone were also named finalists. Pippen and Jordan won six championships together in Chicago, beating John Stockton and two-time MVP Malone for two of them.

Chris Mullin, another Dream Team member, the late Dennis Johnson, coach Don Nelson, and four-time WNBA champion Cynthia Cooper are among the returning finalists. Also on the list: Lakers owner Jerry Buss, Bernard King, and Jamaal Wilkes.

Rookies rule
Sacramento’s Tyreke Evans had 26 points and San Antonio’s DeJuan Blair had 22 points and 23 rebounds to give the Rookies a rare victory over the Sophomores, 140-128, in the Rookie Challenge. Russell Westbrook of Oklahoma City scored 40 points for the Sophomores . . . Toronto rookie DeMar DeRozan won the inaugural “Dunk-In’’ to earn a place in tonight’s slam dunk contest. DeRozan defeated Clippers guard Eric Gordon at halftime of the Rookie Challenge.

Material from the AP was used; Julian Benbow can be reached at jbenbow@globe.com.

Celtics player search

Find the latest stats and news on:
 

Tweets on the Celtics

Check out what everyone on Twitter is saying about the Celtics.   (Note: Content is unmoderated and may contain expletives)