After a week and a half of patiently waiting for the market to settle, the Los Angeles Lakers finally landed a free agent when they came to an agreement with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope on a one-year deal reportedly worth $18 million. Since they want to be major players in free agency next summer, the Lakers had limited themselves to signing one-year deals that won’t eat into their 2018 cap space. Caldwell-Pope is a major addition, and the Lakers may not be done, as they are now working to find a way to bring in veteran guard Rajon Rondo.
Rondo and the Lakers have danced around each other for the last few years, with Los Angeles seemingly always in the mix to sign the polarizing point guard whenever he is on the market. This time around though, the talks seem a bit more substantive. While the Lakers will technically be out of cap space after signing Caldwell-Pope, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN is reporting that they are still looking for ways to add Rondo:
Sources: Despite committing $18M for Caldwell-Pope, Lakers still trying to find a way to sign Rondo. Lakers have a $4.3M exception to use. https://t.co/4tGvW70sro
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 12, 2017
While Caldwell-Pope is a young player who presumably slots into the Los Angeles starting lineup at shooting guard, Rondo would be brought in to serve as a veteran mentor for rookie point guard Lonzo Ball. In theory, Rondo would come in off the bench to spell Ball and would also act as a tutor of sorts, teaching him the tricks of the trade.
While some have questioned whether Rondo is the best fit for such a role, many of the young players on Rondo’s previous team, the Chicago Bulls, praised his leadership. It’s a bit of a gamble for the young Lakers, but they do need more veteran voices, and if Rondo can perform at the same level he hit in last season’s playoffs, then this could be a move that really pays off.