Rajon Rondo agreed to a buyout with the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday and the Los Angeles Lakers are frontrunners to sign the veteran guard.
A reunion between Rondo and the Lakers is imminent, per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
“Rondo will clear waivers on Monday and will likely be signed to fill the final available roster spot with the Lakers,” Wojnarowski tweeted.
Rondo won a championship with the Lakers in 2020 but opted to sign with the Atlanta Hawks in free agency following the title. That fit didn’t work out well and he ended up being traded to the Clippers. He averaged 17.1 minutes per game last season, putting up 5.4 points and 4.4 assists.
Rondo was an instrumental piece during the Lakers’ title run, providing leadership and ball-handling, also living up to the “playoff Rondo” persona.
Before landing with the Lakers, Rondo spent some time on some bad teams. While with the Lakers, Rondo admitted he valued rings over the money at this point in career. With more than $115 million earned in his career, Rondo has that luxury.
“That is why I am still in this league,” Rondo told Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated. “Obviously, I am not out here for a check. I want to win. I want that feeling again. … My kids seeing me win at an age where they understand the game now. That is the biggest goal, to win with a great group of guys. You definitely don’t take that for granted.”
Rondo Will Add to ‘Old’ Narrative for Lakers
Rondo is 35 years old but still younger than some of the players on the Lakers roster. He’ll join a team that includes Carmelo Anthony (37), LeBron James (36), Marc Gasol (36) and Trevor Ariza (36).
Multiple Lakers have clapped back over that narrative, using it as motivation.
“Keep talking about my squad, our personnel ages, the way he plays, he stays injured, we’re past our time in this league, etc etc etc.,” James wrote in a now-deleted tweet. “Do me one favor PLEASE!!!! And I mean PLEASE!!! Keep that same narrative ENERGY when it begins! That’s all I ask. #ThankYou.”
Anthony, who is the oldest player on the team, had a similar sentiment.
“I like when people talk about the age. It gives a better story. I think it gives a better story. I think people forget, at the end of the day, it’s about basketball. You got to know how to play basketball. You got to have that experience. I think that’s what we bring at this point and time. Our talent, our skill, but also our experience.”
Lakers Did Not Bring Back Jared Dudley
The Lakers opted not to bring back Jared Dudley with their final roster spot — a locker room and fan favorite. He played just 6.8 minutes last season and is coming off an MCL tear that limited him to just 12 regular-season games. He returned for the postseason, but played just five total minutes in the Lakers’ first-round series against the Suns.
Rondo will likely be much more of a contributor than Dudley would have been. Dudley decided to end his playing career and is now in a coaching role with the Mavericks.