Like many of the other members on the roster, Rajon Rondo makes a return to the Los Angeles Lakers and looks to secure another title in the storied franchise.
Rondo was instantly linked to the Lakers as soon as his buyout from the Memphis Grizzlies was complete, and the veteran looks to fill the locker room role that was vacated after Jared Dudley moved on to the Dallas Mavericks as an assistant coach. After he signed, Rondo revealed he is motivated to be playing on a championship-caliber team and it is hard to argue that the Lakers are anything less than a contender.
Los Angeles opted not to re-sign Rondo after their 2020 title run, but he talked about how head coach Frank Vogel was instrumental in making sure he felt wanted before returning this summer. “It played a huge role, you know, obviously, everybody wants to be wanted,” Rondo explained. “But having Coach Frank, I talked to him early this morning as far as his expectations for me and understanding that he missed my voice last year in the locker room, which meant a lot kind of saying that I do have value here and wanted to be wanted.
“And so Frank was a big key, obviously talking to Bron and AD, we keep in touch all the time. Rob has been true to me from day one, even the first time I signed with the Lakers. So just having those old relationships and not burning bridges in the past and having great things come together.”
Vogel has gone to bat for Rondo numerous times, so it is not surprising to hear the veteran open up about their relationship playing a part in his free agency decision. Rondo is one of the few players in the NBA that has the basketball IQ to go toe-to-toe with LeBron James but he is also a valuable mentor to the younger players.
Even though it remains to be seen how much Rondo will play given the glut of guards in the rotation, his presence is an absolute plus for the Lakers. Rondo may not be the same player he used to be, but he will be an integral part of the team.
Rajon Rondo defines leadership
Rondo is going to serve as one of the Lakers’ leaders during the season given his age and experience and the guard explained what leadership means to him.
“You can’t pick and chose when you want to be a leader,” Rondo said. “You got to show up every day. Guys are watching you, young and old. You’re being critiqued or judged regardless of the outcome of how you feel that morning. You try to show up and be consistent and no one likes a guy that just talks about it.
“You do it with your work, you do it with your discipline and consistency. So for me, most part is understanding that I don’t know it all and I’m a willing listener and I can learn from Malik Monk versus Trevor Ariza. I have an open mindset. Not being closed off thinking you know it all I think is a big key as well as being a leader and things I’ve grown from in my past.”
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