Rajon Rondo looks to be headed back to his old stomping grounds, albeit not in Beantown. The former Boston Celtics point guard has agreed to a contract buyout with the Memphis Grizzlies on the final year of his deal which was worth $8.3 million. Upon clearing waivers on Monday, Rondo is expected to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers, sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Rondo was originally acquired by the Grizzlies earlier this month as part of the trade that shipped Eric Bledsoe to the Los Angeles Clippers. The 35-year-old closed out the 2020-21 campaign with the Clippers after coming over from the Atlanta Hawks in a trade for sixth-man Lou Williams at March’s deadline. In total, Rondo appeared in 45 games (three starts) a season ago, averaging 5.4 points, 4.4 assists and 2.4 rebounds per contest.
The Kentucky product spent nearly nine seasons in Boston, where he notched each of his four All-Star berths and helped lead the Celtics to their most recent NBA Championship in 2008. Now back in Los Angeles, Rondo will embark on his 16th professional season and his second stint with the Lakers. He played two seasons in purple and gold from 2018-2020 and played a pivotal role in the team’s title run in the Orlando bubble.
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What Rondo’s Move Means for Isaiah Thomas
In short, it almost certainly means Thomas’ dreams of returning back to the NBA won’t come with the Lakers. Rondo’s pending addition fills one of Los Angeles’ final three available roster spots and solidifies the point guard position behind former league MVP Russell Westbrook.
According to The Athletic’s Jon Krawczynski, prior to Rondo becoming available the Lakers were seriously contemplating bringing Thomas aboard.
“Lakers were strongly considering signing Isaiah Thomas, and things appeared to be headed that way as September approaches. Rondo getting the buyout from Memphis clearly changed things in recent days,” Krawczynski tweeted.
Thomas recently headlined a slew of point guards to work out for the Lakers, including Darren Collison and Mike James.
Thomas Adamant on NBA Return
Thomas’ case for an NBA roster spot has gained steam in recent months as the former two-time All-Star took the Pro-Am circuit by storm, dropping 81 points at Jamal Crawford’s The Crawsover league. While no one expects Thomas to regain his pre-injury, MVP caliber form of a few seasons ago, the 32-year-old believes he still has what it takes to help improve an NBA roster.
“I know I can help,” Thomas recently said on ESPN’s “Jalen & Jacoby” show. “I’m just trying to present myself in a way that I can show teams that I’m healthy in any role that’s given to me. That’s all I’m doing. Hopefully that call comes and I’ll be ready to take it back to the top.”
As for if a Celtics reunion could be on the docket, the Washington native had this to say, “There’s a little talk about that. I think the world wants that to happen because it only makes sense. If that opportunity presents itself, I know I can help that team, especially in the young guys over there in Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum.”