THE CELTICS traded point guard Rajon Rondo to Dallas last night, cutting ties with the last remnant of Boston's last NBA championship while giving Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavericks a chance at another title.
The Celtics will send Rondo and forward Dwight Powell to Dallas for Jameer Nelson, Jae Crowder, Brandan Wright, two draft picks and a $12.9 million trade exception.
"Welcome to Rajon Rondo the newest member of the Dallas Mavericks," team owner Mark Cuban wrote on social media shortly before the official announcement. Cuban also thanked the three departing players, calling them "Amazing players and better people."
Boston got a first-round pick in next year's draft and a second-rounder in 2016. The Celtics have eight first-round picks in the next 4 years, picking them up in trades for Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce and even coach Doc Rivers as they shed the pieces of the New Big Three that earned the franchise its unprecedented 17th NBA title in 2008.
"We would not have won Banner 17 without Rajon and will always consider him one of our most valuable Celtics," the team's owners said in a joint statement. "We will always cherish the time he was here."
The Mavericks get a pass-first point guard - a four-time All-Star - to team with Nowitzki, Monta Ellis and Chandler Parsons in what they hope will make them a contender again. Dallas is 19-8 this season but in third place in the Southwest Division and sixth in the Western Conference.
The Mavericks, who won their only NBA title in 2011, have not won a playoff series since.
In 22 games this season for Boston, Rondo, 28, had an NBA-best 10.8 assists per game and also averaged 8.3 points and 7.5 rebounds.
Nelson, who signed a 2-year, $5.5 million deal last summer after 10 seasons in Orlando, was starting at point guard for Dallas, averaging 7.3 points and 4.1 assists while shooting 37 percent from the field. Wright has averaged 8.8 points and 4.1 rebounds.
* Golden State center Andrew Bogut is out indefinitely after undergoing platelet-rich plasma therapy on his ailing right knee.
* Milwaukee center Larry Sanders was suspended by the NBA without pay for last night's game at Sacramento for pushing Portland's Nicolas Batum in the back as he elevated toward the basket on Wednesday.
* At Chicago, Jimmy Butler scored a career-high 35 points and the Bulls beat the New York Knicks, 103-97, in a game that was missing All-Stars Derrick Rose (illness) and Carmelo Anthony (sore knee).