Carlisle instead wishes Rondo had never arrived in a blockbuster trade with the Boston Celtics, saying it was simply a poor fit for both the former All-Star point guard and the team.
"Listen, we all did everything we could to make it work. It was challenging," Carlisle told ESPN.com as the Mavs prepare for a reunion with Rondo in Monday's road game against the Sacramento Kings. "Going back in time, it's a deal we should have shied away from, for the sake of us and for the sake of him. It's a deal we shouldn't have made.
"I think we all realize that now, but when you do a deal like that, you've got to do everything possible to make it work. I learned a lot going through the year with him and trying to be creative and use some of his unique abilities. He's a very talented player, and he's having a great year this year, which is basically no surprise."
Rondo averaged 9.3 points, 6.5 assists and 4.5 rebounds in 46 games with the Mavs, who were 26-20 when he played and 24-12 without him last season. He is averaging 12.4 points, a league-leading 11.0 assists and 7.3 rebounds for the 6-12 Kings this season.
"At this point, everyone has turned the page," said Carlisle, whose team is off to a 10-7 start. "Anyone who knows Rondo knew he was gonna bounce back with a monster year this year. George Karl has done a brilliant job and put him in position to be a max player next year."
Rondo clashed with Carlisle about issues such as play-calling responsibilities and pace during his roughly four months in a Mavs uniform. Rondo was suspended for a game after a heated argument with Carlisle during a timeout in the third quarter and another one postgame in the locker room following a win over the Toronto Raptors on Feb. 24, when the Mavs pulled off a comeback after Rondo was benched following his confrontation with Carlisle.
Rondo left the Mavs after Game 2 of their first-round series against the Houston Rockets, playing less than 10 minutes and only 34 seconds in the second half. The Mavs announced that Rondo had a back injury, but sources said his departure was essentially a mutual decision, with Carlisle having already decided to replace Rondo in the starting lineup and a summer divorce inevitable.
"I don't have any regrets about the way we did anything," Carlisle said. "It's just going back in time, it's a deal that had red flags. We should have stayed away from it.
"With everything that happened with that whole situation, the bottom line is we fit him worse than he fit us. We were a worse fit for him than he was for us. We had a team of slashers last year. He needs shooters.
"Now he's got a center that's a shooter, he's got wing players that can all shoot the ball, and George has given him the keys to the ignition. He'll be great in that situation. We didn't have enough shooters around him."
Carlisle internally expressed his reservations about how Rondo, a notoriously poor perimeter shooter prone to dominating the ball, fit in his flow offense before the trade. However, owner Mark Cuban and president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson decided that the trade was worth what the Mavs considered a relatively minimal risk -- a decision supported by the team's key players.
The Mavs sent role players Jae Crowder, Brandan Wright and Jameer Nelson along with a protected first-round pick and second-round pick to the Celtics for Rondo and developmental project Dwight Powell.
"S--- happens, right?" Cuban told reporters when asked about the trade during the Mavs' recent trip to Boston. "There's a lot of risk I've taken that have worked out just fine. They're not all gonna work. I think when it's all said and done, that Crowder-for-Powell trade will be a break even."
Dallas was off to a 19-8 start with a historically elite offensive rating of 113.6 points per 100 possessions before the trade, but there was a consensus opinion within the organization that they needed to upgrade from Nelson, particularly defensively, to have a legitimate chance to be a Western Conference contender.
The Mavs averaged only 101.7 points per 100 possessions and had a negative net rating with Rondo on the floor.
"That stuff with Rondo, you can't blame that on Rondo," Carlisle said. "He tried to make that work. The ending was difficult, but bottom line, I knew he'd move on and play great, which he is."