It didn’t take long for Rajon Rondo to get his first taste of NBA success. In his sophomore season, he won a championship as the starting point guard for the Boston Celtics. We won’t get into who he won it against for obvious reasons. Rondo made his second Finals appearance in 2010, when the Celtics faced off against the Los Angeles Lakers in an epic and historic rematch. The Lakers won that series in seven games.
Rondo came close to making the Finals again in the years that followed, but he didn’t make it all the way back until the Lakers punched their ticket this season. Now, Rondo is back on top, but he had to give back before he could get back.
In the summer of 2018, Rondo signed a one-year contract with the Lakers worth $9 million. While it’s unlikely that he would have gotten anywhere near that number last summer, he probably could have done better than the $2.56 million veteran’s minimum contract he signed to return to Los Angeles.
Rondo’s decision to take a pay cut was largely influenced by his teammates — most notably Anthony Davis, who’s taken credit for recruiting Rondo — but he also just missed winning, as he recently told Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated:
“That is why I am still in this league,” Rondo said. “Obviously, I am not out here for a check. I want to win. I want that feeling again. … My kids seeing me win at an age where they understand the game now. That is the biggest goal, to win with a great group of guys. You definitely don’t take that for granted.
“I’ve won with a great group of [Celtics] guys that I won with in the past. We’re still friends to this day. Still brothers to this day. Now, hopefully we can do it again with another championship.”
Rondo has a $2.69 million player option that he can exercise for the 2020-21 season. If the Lakers go all the way this season, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him return and try to add a third ring to his finger, especially if Davis makes a long-term commitment to Los Angeles in free agency.
That might mean another frustrating season of regular season basketball from Rondo, but it also means another season of Playoff Rondo. It’s a tough call, but it’s his to make, for better or for worse.