Free agency is still in its early stages but it’s clear that the Los Angeles Lakers are trying just run things back. So far, they’ve already lost Dwight Howard in free agency and now it looks like Rajon Rondo has made his decision not to return. In a lengthy Instagram post, Rondo thanked the Lakers for the opportunity and ended it by saying “now, what’s next.”
While he doesn’t directly say he’s leaving the team, it’s clearly a goodbye message of sorts. The news isn’t too much of a surprise as it’s been reported that Rondo wasn’t going to return. The Lakers’ decision to trade for Dennis Schroder pretty much ensured that Rondo wasn’t coming back. He was very valuable in the playoffs for the Lakers last season but he’s injury prone and doesn’t perform well in the regular season. It’s hard to imagine that Schroder won’t be a major upgrade.
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Where’s Rondo Going to Sign?
Thanks to Rondo’s ability in the playoffs and his veteran leadership, he should get some interest around the league. There was talk that he was going to sign with Atlanta Hawks but they recently signed Kris Dunn so that makes a Rondo acquisition less likely.
The most likely outcome appears to be Rondo signing with the Clippers. They’ve gotten fleeced this offseason and just lost Montrezl Harrell to the Lakers and probably overpaid for Marcus Morris. They need to make some kind of move to stay relevant. Rondo is no longer a star but he can certainly help, especially when it comes to playoff basketball.
The New York Knicks have also been mentioned as a possibility but that seems unlikely. Rondo wants to get paid but he probably would still like to win. If he signs with the Clippers, it’ll fun to see how he plays against his former team.
UPDATE: Rondo has agreed to a two-year deal with the Hawks worth $15 million, according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.
Dwight Howard Left Because of a Miscommunication
While it never seemed like keeping Rondo was seriously in play for the Lakers, it seemed very likely they were going to retain Dwight Howard. The big man even tweeted that he was sticking around. He had a deal in place with the Lakers but things became a little unclear and Howard decided to make a move. Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes dropped some details on what exactly happened:
Meanwhile, the Philadelphia 76ers were being ultra-aggressive in courting the big man led by new head of basketball operations Daryl Morey, who was the general manager of the Houston Rockets when Howard signed there in 2013.
All-Star Joel Embiid also began recruiting Howard, sources said.
Having not heard from the Lakers, Howard decided to join the Sixers on a one-year, $2.6 million deal, sources said.
The end of Howard’s chapter with the Lakers came down to miscommunication somewhere.
It was a very bizarre end to Howard’s brief second stint in Los Angeles. It’s unclear if the Lakers were actually motivated to keep him around but it doesn’t really matter now. Howard will get to play for another contender and could start to see more playing time.