It’s been a long time coming but it looks like Rajon Rondo will be back with the Los Angeles Lakers. After getting traded to the Memphis Grizzlies, the veteran point guard was bought out. The Lakers were immediately linked to him as a possible landing spot but couldn’t sign until he cleared waivers on Monday.
With no teams putting in a claim for Rondo, he is set to head back to Los Angeles. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, he will be signing a one-year deal with $2.6 million.
As Wojnarowski pointed out, Rondo will still be making $7.5 million due to his buyout in addition to the money the Lakers are paying him. The four-time All-Star is far past his prime but was an important part of Los Angeles’ recent title run in 2020. Though he struggled with the team during the regular season, he was able to activate “Playoff Rondo” on the way to his second NBA championship.
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Where Does Rondo Fit on the Roster?
Many fans will be excited to see Rondo back with the team but it remains to be seen how much of a role he’ll have. Russell Westbrook is the team’s starting point guard and will eat up a ton of minutes. Kendrick Nunn was brought in to be his backup and should play more minutes than Rondo.
At this point in his career, it’s fair to question how much the guard has left in the tank. He activated “Playoff Rondo” for the Lakers a year ago but couldn’t do the same for the Clippers during their recent playoff run. In fact, he didn’t even play in six of their playoff games. Whatever magic he had with the Lakers clearly didn’t carry over to the Clippers.
However, he could recapture some of the success he had with the team. It’s possible that the Lakers can occasionally move Nunn and/or Westbrook to shooting guard and let Rondo move to the point. He’s still a very good distributor but can’t score much. He’s a true point guard so it would be hard to put him at shooting guard.
Lakers Considered Isaiah Thomas
It makes sense why the Lakers would bring Rondo back. He got along well with the team and head coach Frank Vogel loves his swagger. However, he almost didn’t get the chance to return. According to The Athletic’s Jon Krawczynski, the team may have signed Isaiah Thomas had Rondo not become available.
Thomas has been linked to the Lakers for weeks as they reportedly brought him in for a workout recently, per Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes. He would’ve made sense as a third-string point guard and is a much better scorer than Rondo. Unfortunately for him, he’s not the distributor that Rondo is. The Lakers have plenty of scorers on the roster. It’s still possible the team gives Thomas a shot in training camp but seems unlikely now. With point guard set, they should be looking to add a center or a wing.