The Dallas Mavericks, looking to make one final championship run in the Dirk Nowitzki era and looking for a lure to attract Dwight Howard, are interested in acquiring Rajon Rondo from the Celtics, according to an NBA source.
Rondo, who has two years left on his contract at a total of $25 million, is considered now the central cornerstone of the Celtics with Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett headed to the Brooklyn Nets. President of basketball operations Danny Ainge told reporters Thursday the club is planning to build around Rondo and he will not be traded.
When asked if he was comfortable with Rondo as the team's centerpiece, Ainge said: "Yes we are. There's guys we're not looking to move right now."
When asked if one of those players was Rondo, Ainge said: "Yeah."
That likely won't stop the Mavericks from inquiring about Rondo, who could be the distributor that could help return the club back into a Western Conference contender and someone who could attract Howard, a free agent, into signing with the Mavericks. Dallas is well under the salary cap, so it could absorb Rondo's contract but would likely want to send the Celtics Shawn Marion's expiring deal along with a younger player and a draft pick to make it attractive for Ainge.
The Mavericks also acquired former University of Miami point guard Shane Larkin, who could also be included in a deal. Larkin worked out twice with the Celtics.