After living up to the Playoff Rondo legend with the Los Angeles Lakers, Rajon Rondo is expected to have a number of suitors in free agency. While Rondo hasn’t officially opted out of his contract yet — players still can’t as of right now — it’s been reported that he’s leaning that way, and rightfully so.
At the age of 34, Rondo probably only has one last chance to cash in on a sizable, multi-year contract, and even though Rondo has gone on record and said he cares about winning championships more than money, there are teams that can provide him both.
Obviously the Lakers are one of those teams, but according to Marc Stein of The New York Times, they’re not the only Los Angeles team that will be making a bid for his services this fall.
The Lakers are naturally determined to re-sign Rondo, who played a huge role in their playoff run, but the Clippers are eager to upgrade at point guard. Rondo has said he is planning to test the open market, which means declining his §2.7 million option for next season— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) October 28, 2020
This news comes after Stephen A. Smith reported that Kawhi Leonard wants a new point guard on ESPN’s “First Take” last week. Rondo might not be the answer to Clippers’ problems at that position, especially when they have arguably a better player at that position in Patrick Beverley, but he’d add a new dynamic to their roster with his playmaking.
Because for all of Rondo’s faults, there are few players in the NBA with his basketball IQ, a fact that was on full display during the past postseason.
Rondo’s raw stats didn’t improve that much outside of his shooting splits, but his net rating jumped from +1.4 in the regular season to +5.8 in the postseason, including +7.3 in the NBA Finals. For someone that hates the Playoff Rondo narrative, he’s done nothing to disprove it.
Going based off of the last few seasons of Rondo’s career, whichever team that signs him will have to do so with the understanding that he’s going to be a shell of himself in the regular season. The Lakers and Clippers are both deep enough to survive Regular Season Rondo, so it will be interesting to see how far the bidding war between them goes, and if other teams get into the mix.
Personally, I’m of the belief that the Lakers would be fine if Rondo walked in free agency, but their star players LeBron James and Anthony Davis might not feel the same way. He was a stabilizing presence both on and off the court and to them, that might be more valuable to the team’s success than the 3-point shooting or defense another point guard like Austin Rivers or D.J. Augustin could offer them.
Regardless, the Rajon Rondo free agency saga will be worth monitoring. Yes, I did just say “Rajon Rondo free agency saga” in 2020. What a time to be alive.