Rondo fractured his right thumb on Sunday at practice inside of the bubble and is expected to miss six to eight weeks. That would put Rondo on track to return around the second round of the playoffs.
The 34-year-old guard Chalmers made his feelings known in a comment on an Instagram post.
“Sounds like the Lakers need another pg…..been patiently waiting and workin,” Chalmers wrote.
Mario Chalmers wasted 0 seconds pic.twitter.com/0oTHss2K1F
— Keith Nelson Jr (@JusAire) July 13, 2020
Unfortunately for Chalmers, Rondo cannot be replaced at this point in the season. The only players who can be replaced now are ones who leave the bubble for personal reasons or are out due to COVID-19.
Several people asked, so here is the answer:
The Lakers can't replace Rajon Rondo with a Substitute Player. The only players who can be replaced now are ones who leave the bubble for personal reasons or are out due to COVID-19.
— Keith Smith (@KeithSmithNBA) July 13, 2020
Chalmers last played in the NBA during the 2017-18 season with the Memphis Grizzlies. For his career Chalmers is averaging 26.7 minutes, three assists and 8.9 points per game. He also brings a wealth of playoff experience, with nearly 100 postseason games played. If the Lakers were to replace Rondo, he would not be able to return this season.
Chalmers most recently played in the Greek league for AEK Athens, averaging 17 minutes and 6.1 points per game. He also had a stint in Italy after his NBA opportunities dried up.
Lakers Have Signed Veterans Linked to LeBron James
Chalmers wouldn’t be the first former teammate of LeBron James the Lakers have brought in. The latest additions of Dion Waiters and JR Smith both had a history of playing with James. Lakers head coach Frank Vogel admitted Smith’s history alongside the four-time MVP played a role in his signing.
“That was a factor. His familiarity with LeBron and the way we built our team obviously around LeBron, there’s a lot of similarities to the things they did in Cleveland,” Vogel said shortly after the signing was announced.
“That definitely is a factor in what we feel JR can bring to the table in what’s going to be a very short time to get acclimated. We have a pretty simple system that we hope can be picked up pretty quickly. Our guys picked it up pretty quickly to start this season, and we hope it’s going to be the same for both Dion and JR.”
Lakers Will Have to Refine Guard Rotation in Orlando
The Lakers have a 5.5 game lead for the top seed in the Western Conference and will have some time to find a rotation that works with both Rondo and starter Avery Bradley sidelined. Bradley decided not to travel with the team for the NBA restart, instead staying behind to support his family.
Rondo averaged 20.5 minutes per game this season — the lowest of his career. However, he’s found a way to be a contributor with 7.1 points, five assists and three rebounds per game.
Bradley started 44 games for the Lakers this season, averaging 8.6 points and stepping up as one of the team’s best perimeter defenders.
As Smith and Waiters catch on to the system, Alex Caruso, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Quinn Cook will likely see a large increase in minutes and roles.