POSTED: Apr 22, 2015 5:06 PM ET
UPDATED: Apr 22, 2015 9:14 PM ET
The Starters: Rajon Rondo Mavericks Situation
Are the Mavs simply covering up Rondo's unhappiness with this "back injury?"
DALLAS (AP) — Rajon Rondo is out in Dallas.
Rick Carlisle made that clear when asked if he thought the free agent-to-be would wear a Mavericks uniform again.
"No, I don't," the coach said.
The Mavericks announced Wednesday that Rondo injured his back before the last of several times the point guard was benched in four months under Carlisle -- almost all of the second half of a 111-99 loss to Houston on Tuesday night that gave the Rockets a 2-0 lead in the first-round series.
Game 3 is Friday night in Dallas, and the Mavericks also will be without Chandler Parsons. The forward is out for the rest of the playoffs with a right knee injury that will require surgery.
Carlisle tried to sidestep a question about the timing of the Rondo announcement before giving the much more direct answer about the 29-year-old guard's future in Dallas.
It ended a saga that started with the December trade with Boston, a deal the Mavericks hoped would boost hopes for their first playoff series victory since winning the franchise's first championship four years ago.
Rondo had 10 playoff triple-doubles with the Celtics, who won the title in 2008 and went the NBA Finals again two years later. The Mavericks gambled that they were getting the player Rondo was before missing large parts of two seasons because of a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee.
Instead, Dallas ended up with a bad fit for an offense that regressed after being among the league's best at the time of the trade. Rondo also missed six games because of a broken bone near his left eye.
"My relationship with him was professional," Carlisle said. "We learned a lot going through this - trying to make this thing work."
Rondo was benched late in a close game not long after the five-player deal that sent guard Jameer Nelson, center Brandan Wright and forward Jae Crowder to Boston. In February, Rondo and Carlisle had a shouting match on the court that resulted in a one-game suspension.
In Game 2 against the Rockets, Rondo sat for all but the first 34 seconds in the second half. He was pulled after quickly picking up his third and fourth fouls guarding James Harden, and getting a technical after one of the calls.
While Carlisle could have hidden behind foul trouble as the reason for yet another ineffective game, the coach changed everything by leaving Rondo on the bench for good.
The two quick fouls were puzzling, but paled compared to Rondo inexplicably getting called for an eight-second backcourt violation while walking the ball up the court in the first half. His poor defense right after the call led to an easy 3-pointer for Jason Terry.
With the Mavericks leading early in the fourth quarter and backup Devin Harris unavailable because of a toe injury, Carlisle still didn't go back to Rondo. J.J. Barea, who scored 13 points, and seldom-used Raymond Felton were his choices.
"I don't make decisions out there," Mavs star Dirk Nowitzki said. "I thought Ray had some good stretches throughout the game, gave us a lift off the bench. I thought J.J. gave us a lift in the first half. I guess that's what coach rolled with."
Parsons won't get to finish the first year of a three-year, $46 million deal he signed last summer, an offer that Houston declined to match. He tried to keep playing after getting hurt at Indiana on March 29, but came out early two games later against his former team.
The 26-year-old forward pushed hard to get ready for the playoffs, then played 37 minutes in the opener before sitting out Game 2. Carlisle declined to discuss details of the injury, but said he believed Parsons would be ready for training camp in October.
"He's extremely disappointed, but the important thing is to find the right surgical situation, get to it as quickly as possible so that he can begin his recovery as quickly as possible and have a great summer and get ready for next year," Carlisle said.
Harris, who played in the series opener and missed Game 2 because of his left big toe injury, has been upgraded to probable. Barea started when Rondo was injured in February.