Former Celtics All-Star Nearing Trade to Eastern Conference Rival: Report

Rajon Rondo nearing trade to Cavs

Getty Los Angeles Lakers point guard Rajon Rondo.

Another day, another former Boston Celtics point guard on the move. After Isaiah Thomas inked a 10-day hardship deal with the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday, Rajon Rondo looks to be returning to the Eastern Conference. On Thursday, December 30, ESPN insider Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Cleveland Cavaliers are nearing a trade to acquire Rondo from the Los Angeles Lakers.

Per Wojnarowski, the two sides are still working out terms on a deal, but noted that an agreement is “expected to be completed as soon as Friday.” Cleveland will need to create a roster spot to free up space for Rondo, which could be done in a multitude of ways:

The sides are working out terms on a deal, but the Cavaliers need to create a roster spot to make room for Rondo. The Cavaliers could include a minimum-contract player in the deal with Los Angeles, or waive a player and complete the trade using a second-round pick or cash.

Rondo’s $2.6 million salary would fit into the JaVale McGee’s $4.2 million trade exception that is set to expire in February. The Cavaliers created that exception back in March when they traded the veteran big man to the Denver Nuggets in exchange for center Isaiah Hartenstein and two future second-round picks.

The Cavaliers Were Desperate for Point Guard Depth

Rondo would likely pencil in as a backup to Darius Garland at the one spot when the latter returns from COVID-19 protocols. The 2019 fifth-overall pick, who leads the team in scoring with an average of 19.5 points per game, was placed in protocols on Tuesday, December 28. On that same day, the Cavaliers suffered a far more major blow to their backcourt when Ricky Rubio was lost for the season.

The 31-year-old suffered a torn ACL in his left knee during Cleveland’s 108-104 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans. Rubio’s promising 2021-22 campaign came to a halt after just 34 games. He averaged a career-best 13.1 points per game to go along with 6.6 assists. The Cavs were already without the services of fellow guard Collin Sexton, who suffered his own season-ending knee injury back in November.

Rondo is now set to join a Cavaliers backcourt consisting of Garland, Isaac Okoro, Kevin Pangos, and others.

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Celtics Were Urged to Bring Rondo Back to Boston

While Rondo hasn’t suited up as a member of the Celtics since way back in 2014, the four-time All-Star has readily remained on the minds of Celtics faithful in hopes of solidifying their backcourt. A trendy name for the Cs at last year’s trade deadline, Rondo’s former teammate-turned-NBC analyst Kendrick Perkins pleaded for the Celtics to “bring Rondo back home!

Of course, a homecoming never materialized. Yet, many have remained persistent in their desire to see Rondo return to Beantown. On December 28, with the Celtics sliding down the Eastern Conference ranks, NBC Sports Boston’s John Tomase urged Brad Stevens to go get the 2008 NBA champion in a trade — a petition that seemingly no longer has much legs to stand on.

“To me, it’s the point guard,” Tomase said on the “Celtics Talk Podcast” with Chris Forsberg. “Maybe I’m in the minority here. I want a (Rajon) Rondo. I understand that that’s not going to give you shooting, you need shooting, but for me, find the shooting everywhere else and go get a point guard who is pass-first and unselfish.”


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