The Los Angeles Lakers have started reworking their roster ahead of the upcoming trade deadline, parting ways with Rajon Rondo in their first mid-season move.
L.A. has traded Rondo to the Cleveland Cavaliers, opening up a roster spot the organization could potentially use to sign Stanley Johnson to a permanent deal. The veteran guard’s second stint with the Lakers ended after he played 18 games for the team in 2021-22, averaging 3.1 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 0.7 assists in 16.1 minutes on the floor.
However, head coach Frank Vogel pointed out Rondo’s duties extended beyond the hardwood.
“Absolutely,” Vogel said. “We brought him here with a purpose understanding that it would be more of a non-playing role, a third-string point guard role but to use his IQ and intelligence.
“That will certainly be missed, but the front office felt like there was a need for flexibility and it wasn’t like we wanted to depart from Rondo.”
Vogel said he has developed a deep and meaningful relationship with Rondo since the title-winning 2019-20 season, during which the guard played a major role both on and off the court.
The head coach added that although trading the veteran playmaker was a “difficult front office decision” to make, he was happy the 35-year-old would now be able to enjoy more rotation minutes while filling in for the injured Ricky Rubio in Cleveland.
“With Rondo, obviously we’re happy for him to have an opportunity to go somewhere where he’s gonna have more of a role in the rotation,” Vogel said. “Obviously the ability to have flexibility with the roster spot for what we have going forward, which is still unknown, I think Rob just saw value in that.
“But Rondo means the world to me. He’s one of my favorite players I’ve ever coached, was an integral part of us winning the championship two years ago, me winning my first championship and he’ll always be a special player and special friend to me. So I wish nothing but the best for him for now and we’ll continue to stay in touch and whatnot.”
Darren Collison Thanks Lakers After His 10-Day Contract Expired
Darren Collison and Stanley Johnson have also left the Lakers after their 10-day contracts expired. Although Johnson’s return in some capacity is still in the cards, Collison has already bid farewell to L.A., thanking the organization for the chance to make his NBA comeback.
Collison featured in three games for the Lakers this season, returning to the Association for the first time since announcing his retirement in 2019.
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