After an up and down year on an individual level from Rajon Rondo, he hits the free agent market once again. Coming off a year where he put up career-low advanced stats and another year closer to his presumed jump to coaching, the Lakers have a decision to make when it comes to their backup point guard and locker room leader.
Rajon Rondo Lakers: Should Los Angeles Re-Sign the Veteran Guard?
If the money is right, Rondo is almost certainly someone the Lakers should look to bring back. Despite his dip in efficiency and advanced metrics, what Rondo brings to the Lakers isn’t really something that can be accounted for in the box score. An extremely cerebral basketball player, Rondo serves as a quasi-defensive coordinator for the Lakers and is a player most consider will make the jump to coaching once his playing days are done.
While the Lakers defense struggled on the whole last season, there were stretches that, when healthy (or without LeBron), they actually looked like a good defensive basketball team. Watching Laker broadcasts, you can often hear Rondo barking out defensive commands from the sidelines.
Rondo was baptized by fire in the NBA, running point for the Celtics’ notorious superteam in his early years. In Boston, he learned quite a bit about accountability and a winning mentality from day one playing alongside NBA legends Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen. Especially on a team loaded with young talent, veteran leaders like Rondo are all that more important to helping properly develop those young assets.
Rajon Rondo Lakers: How Much Would He Cost to Re-Sign?
Rondo is a tricky case considering how much the Lakers shelled out for his services this year. While it really wouldn’t make sense to keep Rondo around on a similar $9 million deal unless they strike out on top tier free agents again, there’s a good chance his market value will be a bit lower this time around.
So just how much are we talking about? Well, Rondo had a similarly up and down year with the Bulls in 2016-17 and while he did have a brief “Playoff Rondo” showing, he quickly broke his hand and was forced out of the rest of the playoffs. The offseason after, Rondo signed a 1-year $3 million deal with the Pelicans which he would later parlay into his $9 million offer from the Lakers the next year.
Especially considering Rondo is another year older and coming off a fairly similar season to his 2016-17 campaign, look for his market price to drop back down closer to that $3 million level. For what should be an extremely affordable option to back up and mentor Lonzo, the Lakers would be wise to pull the trigger for Rondo at this price.