NBA Free Agency Rumors: Lakers, Clippers Interested In Rajon Rondo
Rajon Rondo, Ivica Zubac
Yong Teck Lim-Getty Images

Rajon Rondo emerged as a key player for the Los Angeles Lakers on the way to their 17th NBA championship. His experience, basketball IQ and playmaking ability made a difference whenever the veteran came in off the bench, often allowing LeBron James to take a few valuable minutes of rest.

Rondo bounced back in style from the two injuries that delayed his Orlando bubble debut. Despite missing the entire series with the Portland Trail Blazers, he ended the postseason with 105 assists, the most by a reserve player in a single playoff in NBA history.

Rondo is expected to decline his $2.7 million player option for the 2020-2021 season and test his value in free agency. And according to the New York Times’ Marc Stein, the L.A. Clippers are among the teams interested in signing the 34-year-old playmaker:

Losing Rondo would be a huge disappointment for the Lakers, considering his playoff contribution but also popularity in the locker room and among the team’s leaders.

But the front office has to approach free agency carefully. Four other players could opt out of their contracts with the Lakers, including Anthony Davis and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, meaning bringing them back for the next season would come with an extra burden for the franchise’s payroll.

The 2020 NBA champions are scrambling for more financial flexibility this offseason as shown by their career-ending injury application to take Luol Deng’s remaining salary off the books.

Rondo reflects on winning NBA title for Kobe Bryant

The Lakers made it their goal to win the 17th championship last season, but that desire was further fueled by the tragic death of Kobe Bryant. Rondo was among the many players who wanted to honor the legacy of the legendary Laker by bringing the Larry O’Brien trophy back to L.A. “Obviously winning for Kobe has been in my mind for a while,” he said.

“And to come full circle to win in his honor, his daughter’s honor, unbelievable season that we’ve had. And to be able to prevail and stay focused and continue to get the job done, I know something, he’s definitely smiling down on us.”

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