Mavs bid or bye: Rajon Rondo

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Seventh in a series of 10 examining the likelihood of each of the pending free agents from the 2014-15 roster returning to the Dallas Mavericks.

2014-15 stats: 9.3 points, 4.5 rebounds, 6.5 assists, 1.2 steals, 2.9 turnovers, 43.6 field goal percentage, 35.2 3-point percentage in 28.7 minutes per game (46 games with Mavs)

OK, stop rolling your eyes.

There is no mystery about whether Rajon Rondo will return to Dallas. It was apparent in February that his tenure with the Mavs would be temporary. It just ended even earlier than anyone anticipated when Rondo departed two games into the playoffs, with coach Rick Carlisle confirming then that there were no plans to attempt to re-sign the former All-Star point guard this summer.

But the Mavs still could have business to do with Rondo. It could benefit them to have Rondo officially leave Dallas via a sign-and-trade deal, as is the case with shooting guard Monta Ellis and others.

It’s not that the Mavs expect to get anything of value for Rondo. A foreign “prospect” would be fine. But Dallas would prefer to operate as an over-the-cap team if possible, as long as it can still maneuver to make significant roster upgrades. That’s because the Mavs would like to preserve the full midlevel exception ($5.46 million) instead of having the cap-room exception ($2.81 million).

It’s complicated and probably unlikely for the Mavs to preserve that midlevel exception, but it’s worth a try. That’s one reason the Mavs were willing to go along with the silly story that Rondo left the team due to a back injury after his give-up Game 2 outing. (They also wanted to be able to do future business with agent Bill Duffy, whose list of clients includes free-agent shooting guard Danny Green.)

It will be interesting to see what kind of market develops for Rondo after his disastrous Dallas stint. He definitely won’t get anything close to his desired max deal. He’s long been expected to join breakfast buddy Kobe Bryant, but who will the Los Angeles Lakers be bidding against?