The Mavericks would like to re-sign Rajon Rondo, but there’s a limit to just how much they’re willing to pay him, according to Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com. The soon-to-be free agent point guard is expected to ask for more than Dallas wants to give up, and the Mavs wouldn’t compete with other teams that float more lucrative offers, MacMahon writes. That stance could change if Rondo excels in the playoffs, as he’s done in the past, though Rondo acknowledged to MacMahon that he isn’t sure how he’ll perform in the postseason, since he hasn’t played a playoff game since 2012.
Rondo shied away from talk about his free agency this summer in his chat with MacMahon, but he did speak of a need for more time to adjust to his teammates following the December trade that brought him to the Mavs after he’d spent his entire career with the Celtics. The 29-year-old’s production has been off this season for both Boston and Dallas, as he’s averaged 8.9 points per game, his lowest output since he was a rookie. That scoring has increased somewhat since the trade, but his assists, a healthy 10.8 per contest in 22 games prior to the deal, have dropped to 6.4 APG since, and overall he’s dishing fewer dimes on a nightly basis than in any season since 2007/08. His PER with the Mavs is 11.7, which would be a career-worst if extrapolated over an entire season.
Rondo has expressed a willingness to re-sign with the Mavs, even after a public tiff with coach Rick Carlisle. League sources told Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders around midseason that it was unlikely that teams would give Rondo a full maximum-salary contract this summer, though Kyler cautioned that it might just mean they would be willing to give Rondo a short-term max deal. The Lakers have long been likely to pursue the former All-Star, with executive VP of basketball operations Jim Buss apparently a fan, just like Kobe Bryant, who’s made no secret of his attempts to recruit Rondo to L.A. The Lakers were reportedly among the teams that made runs at trading for Rondo before the Mavs landed him, a group that also included the Rockets, Nets, Kings, Knicks and Pacers to varying degrees.