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Top Boston Sports Stories of 2014, No. 3: Celtics trade Rajon Rondo to Mavericks 12.30.14 at 4:29 pm ET
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Over the final days of the year, will count down the top 14 stories of 2014 in Boston sports. This is No. 3: Celtics trade Rajon Rondo to Mavericks. To read other stories in this series, click here.

The rumors began to swirl quickly one night, and he was out of Boston by the next.

After eight-plus seasons with the Celtics, point guard Rajon Rondo was traded to the Mavericks with rookie Dwight Powell in exchange for Brandon Wright, Jameer Nelson, Jae Crowder and two draft picks — a 2015 first-rounder and a 2016 second-round selection.

The Celtics said in a statement after the trade they were appreciative of what Rondo did during his time in Boston.

“We would like to thank Rajon for everything that he has done for the Celtics organization and the success we have experienced during his tenure with us,” Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said.

“We would not have won Banner 17 without Rajon and will always consider him one of our most valuable Celtics, both on the court and in the community working with kids,” Celtics managing partners Wyc Grousbeck, Irv Grousbeck, Steve Pagliuca and Robert Epstein said. “We will always cherish the time he was here.”

The trade finally happened on a late December day, though the first discussions about Rondo leaving the C’s came a year earlier. The Celtics limped to a 25-57 record in 2013-14, and many thought Boston would unload its top player. But Rondo was sidelined for most of the year because of a torn ACL from the season prior, and he was limited to just 30 games. A trade would have to wait.

With one year remaining on his contract, the rumors brewed throughout the summer before the 2014-15 season that Rondo would be moved elsewhere. Reports said Rondo would be everywhere from Sacramento to Houston before the season started.

Rondo said that he couldn’t focus too much on all of the trade speculation. It was just part of the game.

“I don’t have too many feelings involved in this business,” Rondo said. “I’ve played my heart out for the game, but business is business. I can be here today, gone tomorrow. You never know. For me to get bent out of shape, or to feel threatened by the Celtics drafting a point guard, it means nothing.”

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Read More: Brad Stevens, Danny Ainge, Jameer Nelson, rajon rondo
Bruce Weber won’t resign as Illinois coach 02.17.12 at 6:08 pm ET
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Facing increased pressure and criticism with his team at 16-10 and in eighth place in the Big Ten standings, Illinois coach Bruce Weber told reporters today that he has no intentions of resigning his position.

The Fighting Illini have lost seven of their past eight games and after his team’s most recent loss, a 67-62 home loss to Purdue, Weber admitted that he has “coached not to lose all year.” He insists, though, that neither he nor his team have given up on this season and he reaffirmed his commitment to the school and program.

‘€œI love Illinois,’€ Weber told the Chicago Tribune. ‘€œI’€™ve said it many times I want to be the coach here. I want to finish my career here. I’€™ve done a lot of good things. ‘€¦ Do I want to do better? No doubt. I know I’€™m a good coach. I’€™ve done things at Illinois no other coaches have done.’€

Since leading Illinois to a 37-2 record and an appearance in the NCAA championship game in 2005, Weber has not guided the Illini past the tournament’s second round since 2006 and they have missed out on the NCAA Tournament entirely in two of the last four seasons. His overall record at the school is 209-95 in what is now his ninth season.

In the last few seasons, Weber has come under increased scrutiny from the Illinois fan base and in a column in Friday’s Tribune, columnist David Haugh suggested that the school and new athletic director Mike Thomas should take a look at replacements for Weber, naming coaches like Brad Stevens of Butler, Mick Cronin of Cincinnati, Gregg Marshall of Wichita State and Shaka Smart of Virginia Commonwealth.

Nets point guard Deron Williams, who played for Weber and helped lead Illinois to the 2005 Final Four, supported his coach in an interview with ESPN Chicago, noting that he would be “very disappointed” if Weber ultimately gets fired.

“He’s in a tough situation,” Williams said. “I’d be very disappointed [if Weber were fired]. That’s my coach, and it would be hard for me. I would still support the program, but it would be hard.”

Read More: Brad Stevens, Bruce Weber, Gregg Marshall, Mick Cronin