Rajon Rondo’s infamously stubborn personality is part of what makes him the successful point guard he’s been in his career and also is the reason he has played for eight different franchises in his career, some stints ending on better terms than others. In the wrong situations, Rondo’s personality wears on coaches and teammates, no example more indicative of that than his half-season in Dallas.
In the right situation, though, he can flourish both on the court and as a voice in the locker room. That was certainly the case during Rondo’s first stop with the Lakers, culminating in a title following Playoff Rondo’s brilliant postseason.
Following his two years in Los Angeles, Rondo opted for a big payday, almost certainly the final one of his career, instead of returning to the Lakers for a title defense. The season away went awry as his tenure in Atlanta was short and his trade to the Clippers did not produce optimal results for either side.
After being dealt to the Grizzlies and negotiating a buyout, there was only one team Rondo considered for his next stop. In an interview on “Mason and Ireland” on ESPN LA on Tuesday, Rondo revealed he never considered another team in his short free agency, calling the Lakers the “spot for me.”
In his introductory press conference with the Lakers, Rondo spoke on if he can replicate his performance from the 2020 postseason now that he’s back with a team and situation he’s comfortable in.
“Like I said, it hasn’t been 10 years,” Rondo said. “I don’t think I’ve changed much. I don’t think my game has declined. But you’re only as good as your coach believes in you. And going forward this year, looking at this Lakers team and this roster, I understand where I am in my career, but at the same time, I do still believe I can still bring a lot to the game. But my main focus is that if we win, nothing else matters.”
While Rondo spoke about being able to contribute during his press conference, he also discussed on “Mason and Ireland” that he was aware of and open to the fact he would not play as many minutes as did during the 2019-20 season in Los Angeles.
Being in a comfortable position appears to have been the top priority for Rondo this time around. Having secured his payday — he’ll still make the full $7.5 million he was set to earn this season — Rondo put a priority on being in a situation where he’s embraced and can flourish once again.
While it likely won’t necessitate the same level of on-court production, Rondo can still be productive for the Lakers this season, back in a place he can find success again.