Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Rajon Rondo is set to miss two weeks with a sprained toe. The two-time world champion will undergo a “period of treatment and rehabilitation,” according to the team. Rondo last played on February 24.
The 36-year-old was giving Cleveland quality minutes off the bench as a backup to All-Star Darius Garland. Rondo was acquired by the Cavaliers as part of a three-team trade back on January 3 after clearing the NBA’s health and safety protocols. They also traded for Caris LeVert at the deadline to further strengthen the backcourt.
Cleveland currently holds the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference standings. They are in the thick of the playoff chase with 21 games left on the schedule. However, Rondo’s injury complicates things as the Cavaliers may find it hard to tread water without their backup point guard. It’s not out of the realm of possibility for them to work toward a Rondo buyout. That would free up a roster spot, possibly to entice John Wall to leave Houston. Or they might be content to give those extra minutes to rising youngster Brandon Goodwin.
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Could Doc Rivers Persuade Rondo to Force Buyout?
The scenario outlined above is a longshot, arguably the biggest one since the 2017 Philadelphia Eagles. But you can never rule anything out, especially not the persuasive powers of Doc Rivers.
Could the Philadelphia 76ers head coach force Rondo to ask for a buyout from Cleveland? Maybe. Remember, Rivers coached Rondo for seven seasons in Boston and the two won a championship together for the Celtics in 2008. Rivers has an affinity for the kid from Kentucky, plus Rondo would fill a huge void as an extra ball-handler off the bench. The only real option behind James Harden and Tyrese Maxey on the Sixers’ roster right now is Shake Milton.
They could use a veteran guard for the postseason and waiting two weeks for a four-time All-Star like Rondo to heal up from his toe injury could be a stroke of genius. The two kept in touch after parting ways in Boston, with Rondo crediting Rivers for molding his leadership.
Sixers Ranked No. 5 in ESPN’s Power Rankings
The trade for James Harden sent shockwaves around the NBA and they are rippling the balance of power in the Eastern Conference. The Sixers moved up two spots – jumping up from No. 7 to No. 5 – in ESPN’s latest power rankings, a rise made possible by the “unstoppable” pairing of Harden and Joel Embiid. Philadelphia (37-23) is putting the NBA on notice.
The teams ahead of them? Phoenix Suns (49-12). Memphis Grizzlies (42-20). Golden State Warriors (43-18). Miami Heat (40-21). ESPN’s Tim Bontemps wrote the following:
It’s been a dream start for James Harden and Joel Embiid. Yes, the 76ers have had a couple of good opponents to start off with in Minnesota and New York. But that doesn’t diminish how smoothly the two superstars have fit – as Embiid expects, after saying so several times. One thing seems certain: With two of the league’s best foul-drawers on the same team, 76ers games are going to be long.