The Los Angeles Lakers’ much-rumored potential interest in free agent guard Rajon Rondo has been a source of significant consternation for some in the fan base.
It sounds like no decision on whether or not to sign Rondo is imminent, although Ramona Shelburne of ESPN reports that the Lakers will meet amongst themselves to discuss options like Rondo or Dion Waiters Wednesday.
When they do sit down to discuss Rondo, the Lakers will do so with plenty of information. According to Mark Medina of the Orange County Register, the Lakers have “inquired about Rondo with numerous former teammates and coaches in recent days.”
This backs up an earlier report from Shelburne and Adrian Wojnarowski that the Lakers have made “several rounds of calls to front-office officials, coaches and players who've worked with Rondo through the years.”
The Lakers reportedly want Rondo to serve as a “mentor” for No. 2 pick Lonzo Ball, so it makes sense that the team would be calling around to make sure he would be a good influence on the player they see as the face of their franchise going forward. What they’ll find out behind the scenes is unknown, but we outlined the publicly available context in an earlier write-up:
On one hand, reports from around the Bulls have pegged him as someone the Chicago Bulls younger players looked up to last season. Rondo additionally mentored young boys in Chicago to help give them a male role model.
If any of those things made a positive impact on the professionalism of the young Bulls, that’s definitely a positive in addition to the value the latter provided the Chicago community.
On the other hand, Rondo has also feuded with just about every coach he’s had in the NBA at some point. There is also the highly regrettable incident in which Rondo called NBA official Bill Kennedy a homophobic slur. Kennedy later came out publicly as gay.
Ignoring whether or not Rondo can help the Lakers on the court, if he’s learned from the off-the-court incidents above and can buy in to Lakers head coach Luke Walton’s rotations and style of play, he could be a good mentor for Ball, someone who could give the rookie real life lessons on mistakes to avoid while helping Ball learn to be a professional.
If the Lakers’ pseudo background check returns any information that paints a contrary picture, however, the team will probably find it best to pass on Rondo. Their ultimate decision will reveal a lot more about what they found out.
Harrison Faigen is co-host of the Locked on Lakers podcast (subscribe here), and you can follow him on Twitter at @hmfaigen.