Rondo holds a minimum-salary player option worth about $2.69MM for the 2020/21 season, but the point guard is expected to opt out and seek a raise after playing a key role in helping the Lakers win their 17th championship.
Having returned from a broken thumb during the second round vs. Houston, Rondo averaged 8.9 PPG, 6.6 APG, 4.3 RPG, and 1.4 SPG in 16 games (24.7 MPG) off the bench. He even provided some reliable outside shooting, knocking down 40.0% of 3.1 three-point attempts per game during the postseason.
The Lakers are “naturally” determined to re-sign Rondo following his impressive playoff showing, but their L.A. rivals are eager to upgrade their point guard position, Stein notes (via Twitter).
Multiple reports in September indicated that the Clippers will likely target a play-making point guard this offseason, and Rondo would certainly fit that bill. The opportunity to hurt the defending champions by stealing away an important part of their rotation likely appeals to the Clips as well.
The Lakers will hold Rondo’s Early Bird rights, giving the team the ability to offer him a starting salary worth up to approximately $10MM (105% of the league-average salary in the previous season), though contracts signed using the Early Bird exception must run for at least two years, without a second-year option.
The Clippers, meanwhile, could have the full mid-level exception available, depending on what happens with some of their own free agents. The MLE projects to be worth over $9MM, so that would give the club plenty of spending flexibility to make a run at Rondo.