Los Angeles Lakers point guard Rajon Rondo is reportedly opting out of his contract to become an unrestricted free agent.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski broke the news Sunday, which wasn’t surprising given the various reports indicating Rajon’s plans to see what’s available outside of Los Angeles following the Lakers’ 2020 championship. However, Rondo may have played his last game with the Lakers, it seems, after L.A. reportedly acquired Dennis Schroder from the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for Danny Green and the 28th overall pick in Wednesday’s 2020 NBA Draft.
Brad Wanamaker’s Upgrade In Rajon Rondo?
In light of this development, could this mean Rondo’s one step closer to reuniting with the Celtics? Maybe but it’s certainly not a top priority, for Boston, to say the least.
The Celtics don’t have a whole lot of options heading into the offseason and addressing the frontcourt concerns along with depth at the wing positions is where Danny Ainge could really bolster Brad Stevens’ roster ahead of the 2020-21 campaign. But if Ainge is able to do so and Stevens is pleased with the idea of upgrading Kemba Walker’s backup for a two-time champion in Rondo, I can’t see Ainge disagreeing to bring Rajon back.
Ainge, who recently told reporters that he’s confident his starting point guard Kemba Walker will not miss the start of the 2021 season but should experience “maintenance issues,” could be in the market for a backup point guard. Brad Wanamaker is still a viable option, there’s a $1.9 million qualifying offer on the table for him next season but Rondo would still be a significant upgrade behind Kemba, especially for someone with a championship pedigree, who you can plug into the starting lineup with ease.
Rondo played eight seasons for the Celtics. In 2008, he contributed to Boston’s first NBA title in 12 years, and from 2009 to 2013, he made four consecutive All-Star teams.
Rajon spent his best years in Boston, where he averaged 10.2 points, 8.3 assists, 4.7 rebounds, and 2 steals per game.
Another Boston Celtics Championship & Rajon Rondo’s No. 9?
Also, if Rondo returns to Boston and is able to guide the Celtics, much like he did in crucial playoff series for the Lakers this year, to a title in 2021; Rajon would not only reach a rare feat of earning back-to-back championship for two different teams, he’d join an elite class of Celtics greats. Rondo would join the likes of Bob Cousy, Jo Jo White, and Dennis Johnson as one of the few point guards in franchise history to help raise two or more banners above the parquet at TD Garden.
That would undoubtedly spark a debate calling for the Celtics to raise a different banner – one with Rondo’s No.9 stitched to it. And with Cousy, White, and Johnson numbers, respectively, hanging from the rafters; one can make a strong case that he deserves to be a Celtics Hall of Fame guard.
If it comes down to it, Rondo’s legacy will be viewed as a deal-breaker, if Ainge makes an offer, and it wouldn’t shock me if Rondo took a pay cut to make it happen. Lead this new team to another title and my name is forever cemented alongside the greats for the league’s most-storied franchise, Rondo will say, as Boston is the only city that can make such a promise.
But I don’t think it’s something that Rondo would necessarily need in writing – it goes without saying. In a city that reveres its professional athletes like no other, Boston never falls short of showering its champions with the utmost.
If you’re Rondo, you can’t really put a price on that.