Now that the Los Angeles Lakers have paired LeBron James with Anthony Davis — and traded half of their team in the process — their next trick will be filling out the rest of the roster.
On that front, the team clearly has bigger targets that Rajon Rondo making a return, but it does sound like that is still on the table. During an appearance on “Mornings with Keyshawn, LZ and Travis” on ESPN 710, Broderick Turner of the L.A. Times said that Rondo wants to be back with the Lakers — which isn’t surprising — but it sounds like L.A. may aim higher first (emphasis mine):
“In the case of Rondo, because he played for them last season, he would be difficult for them to bring back. I think first they want to look to other players, like Seth Curry, for example. Someone like that. There’s a lot of guys out there that they would look at, but Rondo is the one that I’m sure they want to bring him back because he played with AD in New Orleans, he played with LeBron James, he improved as a 3-point shooter, and he’s a leader, and he’s a winner, and he wants to return.”
First thing’s first: The Lakers absolutely could and should look at other players before Rondo, but that doesn’t mean we can rule out his return.
Part of that is because Rondo wanting to come back isn’t exactly shocking news. For one, he’s not likely to have a ton of suitors after last season, and for two, he’s been saying everything he can to make the Lakers sound good all summer, from talking about how the season wasn’t as crazy as people might think, to defending LeBron James and Anthony Davis’ agent, Rich Paul, from accusations that he harmed team chemistry.
But however much Rondo might want to be back, there is decent reason for the Lakers’ tepid interest. Due to various injuries, Rondo was only able to play in 46 games last season, and when he was on the floor he wasn’t great, as the team was 10.9 points per 100 possessions worse when he played than they were when he sat, continuing a trend for the veteran point guard.
We have to go back 7 seasons (11-12) to find a Rondo team which was better with him on vs off. Rondo is not the answer— BJ Metta (@bj_metta) June 17, 2019
14-15: -2.9 (BOS)
14-15: -2.3 (DAL)
But even with all that said, I still think Rondo will be back. This isn’t reporting, just call it a hunch, but I think a guy that has ingratiated himself with James, was a teammate Davis by all accounts loved playing with in New Orleans and even helped Kuzma last year with film study is someone the team will want to bring back. Plus, he’s someone that Kobe Bryant has always respected, which is apparently something that still matters to the Lakers.
If the market for Rondo isn’t there — and it’s hard to see teams lining up to pay him after how he played last season — and the Lakers still need point guard depth as free agency is wrapping up, Rondo very well could be one of the merry minimums filling out the Lakers’ roster next season. In fact, I would be fairly shocked if he isn’t.