The start of NBA free agency has been busy for the Los Angeles Lakers as vice president of basketball operations Rob Pelinka looks to improve the roster in hopes of defending their title this upcoming season.
The Lakers’ biggest move actually came before free agency when they traded for point guard Dennis Schroder from the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange Danny Green and the 28th pick in this year’s draft (Jaden McDaniels).
With Schroder now likely taking over backup point guard duties, many thought that would mark the end of Rajon Rondo’s tenure with the Lakers after two seasons.
Rondo was productive for L.A. during their championship run, but with him getting up there in age at 34, this could be his final opportunity to get paid what he feels he’s worth. With the Lakers using their cap space to address other needs, they didn’t really have enough to retain Rondo.
He took to social media on Saturday morning to thank the organization and announce that he is moving on. All along, Rondo’s two biggest suitors other than the Lakers have reportedly been the Atlanta Hawks and L.A. Clippers. According to Marc Stein of The New York Times, that remains the case with Hawks considered to be the favorite:
Atlanta still widely regarded as the frontrunners to sign Rajon Rondo, league sources say, but one source says that the Clippers remain in the hunt
In the enclosed IG post, Rondo has bid farewell to the Lakers … https://t.co/LBsaCr1TAr
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) November 21, 2020
With the Lakers moving on from Rondo, his signing with the Hawks would be the best-case scenario for them as they are in the Eastern Conference and not a threat to win the championship this season. They are building for the future, and Rondo could potentially serve as a valuable mentor for Trae Young and their other young players.
Despite losing some key players in free agency, the Clippers are still a contender in the West and greatly lacked a playmaking point guard as well as leadership last season, and Rondo provides both.
Caldwell-Pope in talks with Lakers and Knicks
The Lakers may have lost two of their key guards in Rondo and Avery Bradley, who has reportedly signed with the Miami Heat, but it appears they are still in talks to retain one of their own in Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.
It’s no secret how important Caldwell-Pope was to their championship run, making it essential that they at least bring him back. They do have some competition in the New York Knicks though, so it will be up to Pelinka and Caldwell-Pope’s agent, Rich Paul, to work something out so L.A. doesn’t lose three of their guards from last season.
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