- The L.A. Clippers are interested in signing Rajon Rondo in free agency.
- Rondo is expected to decline the $2.7M player option on his current Lakers contract.
- Rondo averaged 8.9 points, 6.6 assists, and 4.3 rebounds during the 2019-20 playoffs.
Rajon Rondo set a record for himself when he became the first player to win an NBA title with both the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers. Now, he could add more flare to that record. If the buzz is true, Rondo won’t only be the first to win rings with the Celtics and Lakers, he could also have the opportunity to be the first to win rings with the two Los Angeles teams.
According to a report from the New York Times’ Marc Stein, the L.A. Clippers are interested in signing Rondo in free agency. While it’s no secret that the Lakers want him back, the Battle of Los Angeles could extend to fighting for the veteran point guard.
— Lakers Nation (@LakersNation) October 29, 2020
Rondo has a $2.7M player option this season which is a 120% raise from his 2020 salary but it’s obvious that he will opt out of that deal. Given how productive and key he was to the Lakers’ championship run, there will be plenty of contender who will go after him. The Clippers are just one.
Clippers Are an Interesting Option
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) October 28, 2020
But what makes the Clippers an interesting option is that they have the kind of championship material that the Lakers have, something that Rondo wants. The 34-year old is at the tail end of his career and wants to play only for teams which can compete for the title. Other than the Lakers, it’s the Clippers who have the next best shot, or at least that’s what the oddsmakers are saying.
According to SportsBetting.ag, the Clippers have the second best odds to win the NBA title at +550. In the West, their +375 odds is ranked only next to the Lakers’ +275. Although the Clippers have their own free agent issues, they will be sure to return Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, Lou Williams, Patrick Beverley, and Landry Shamet next season.
Aside from having the kind of team that Rondo wants to play for, the Clippers also have connections to the former Celtics point guard. Newly hired head coach Tyronn Lue and Clippers President of Basketball Operations Lawrence Frank were both assistants coaches on the Celtics when Rondo was in Boston. We all know that Rondo puts a premium on relationships and this could be a plus for the Clippers.
Lakers Can Offer More Money
Because he has played the previous two season with them. The Lakers own Rondo’s Early Bird Rights. That means that they can offer him more money than the Clippers. However, the question is whether the Lakers are willing to sign him for that much.
It’s no secret that the Lakers want to shed salary. They recently requested a career-ending injury exemption on the dead money owed to Luol Deng. Although the league is expected to reject that, it’s a clear sign they want cap relief. Los Angeles is also preparing for the 2021 free agency which is expected to be stacked with talent.
Like the Lakers, the Clippers are mindful of a hard cap. Montrezl Harrell and Marcus Morris are free agents and the Clippers want to keep both. It’s unlikely they won’t but if they lose one, the Clippers will have a little more money on the table to dangle in front of Rondo. Whether that would be enough to poach him from the other side of Los Angeles is another story.
Rajon Rondo celebrating his latest ring is some King Shit. Ps if your swim trunks aren’t Versace you’re probably a poor pic.twitter.com/0SrpsdME9c
— Brad Pritts (@BradleyPritts) October 29, 2020
Rondo had a rejuvenated season for the Lakers. He averaged 7.1 points and 5.5 assists per game coming off the bench during the regular season. However, Playoff Rondo took over in the postseason and was key in the Lakers’ title run. Rondo averaged 8.9 points, 6.6 assists, and 4.3 rebounds while shooting 40% from three-point distance in the playoffs.
Rondo also finished the 2020 playoffs with 105 assists which is the most ever in a postseason by a player coming off the bench since starts began to be tracked during the 1971 NBA season. Not only did he help the Lakers win their 17th title, Rondo also became the first player to win titles with the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers franchises.
Rondo was only a sophomore when the Celtics won in 2008. He won his second one 12 years after his first which is the longest gap ever between titles for a player who played for more than one game for his team in the postseason. There’s still plenty left in that Rondo tank.