Rajon Rondo

Lakers Notes: Rondo, Davis, Lineups, G League

While the Lakers have high hopes for guards Kendrick Nunn and Talen Horton-Tucker, both players are relatively young, so the decision to sign Rajon Rondo reflects the team’s desire to hedge its bets in the backcourt, writes Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report.

Los Angeles may not lean heavily on Rondo, who will turn 36 during the 2021/22 season, but he gives the team a proven backup at the point in case Nunn and Horton-Tucker struggle at all. Rondo is also more of a distributor than Nunn and Horton-Tucker, who are score-first guards, so he could be a better fit in certain lineups and situations.

Here’s more on the Lakers:

  • Within his article on the Rondo signing, Pincus cites a source who says Anthony Davis was frustrated at times last season with the looks he got in the post from Dennis Schröder compared to the ones he got from Rondo the year before. That may have been one factor in the Lakers’ decision to let Schröder walk in free agency.
  • Jovan Buha of The Athletic identifies five Lakers lineups he’s looking forward to seeing in 2021/22, including a switchable, center-less unit (LeBron James, Russell Westbrook, Kent Bazemore, Trevor Ariza, and Horton-Tucker) and one in which LeBron is surrounded by shooters (Malik Monk, Wayne Ellington, Carmelo Anthony, and Marc Gasol).
  • The South Bay Lakers – Los Angeles’ G League affiliate – officially announced Miles Simon as the team’s head coach for the 2021/22 season. Simon has spent the last four seasons as an assistant on the Lakers’ staff and coached the team’s Summer League squad in 2017 and 2018.

Pacific Notes: Simmons, Kings, Rondo, Lakers’ Big Men

The Kings still need to re-balance their roster, writes James Ham of NBC Sports Bay Area, and the Sixers still need to find a graceful exit from the debacle they find themselves in with Ben Simmons.

While it’s unlikely the Kings have what Sixers president Daryl Morey might consider the Godfather offer he’s been waiting for, Ham writes that Sacramento has been all in on Simmons since he became potentially available, and the three-time All-Star could represent the franchise-changing move GM Monte McNair has been looking for.

We have more news from around the Pacific Division:

  • In a similar vein, Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee writes that sports betting site MyBookie.ag recently gave the Kings the best odds at landing Simmons of any team (+275). Anderson doesn’t believes that the Kings are fully “all-in” on Simmons though, adding that Sacramento is unlikely to include either De’Aaron Fox or Tyrese Haliburton in a potential trade.
  • Rajon Rondo isn’t worried about the Lakers’ age as a team, writes Royce Young of ESPN. In fact, he considers it an advantage. “Wisdom is definitely key to winning a championship,” Rondo said after officially rejoining the club. “We have a lot of that, obviously, with the age and experience on the court. I’m most excited about not being the oldest guy on the team anymore.” Rondo adds that it’s tough to last to the age many of the Lakers’ players have without discipline, which will be key for the team in its title hunt.
  • While not naming DeAndre Jordan specifically, Marc Stein confirms that – according to his league sources – the Lakers have been exploring the center market, despite Marc Gasol having one more year on his deal.

Lakers Sign Rajon Rondo To One-Year Deal

AUGUST 31: The Lakers have officially signed Rondo, the team confirmed today (via Twitter).

AUGUST 30: Point guard Rajon Rondo intends to sign a one-year, minimum-salary contract with the Lakers after he becomes a free agent, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter links). Rondo, who will clear waivers today, will sign his new contract on Tuesday, Wojnarowski adds.

Rondo agreed to a buyout with the Grizzlies and was released by the team on Saturday, with reports at the time indicating the Lakers would likely be his next destination. According to Wojnarowski, Rondo will still earn $7.5MM this season, which was the base salary on his previous deal, so it sounds like he gave up about $2.64MM (his minimum salary) in his buyout agreement.

Rondo, 35, signed with Atlanta during the 2020 offseason, but had a limited impact in 27 games with the Hawks, averaging just 3.9 PPG and 3.5 APG in 14.9 minutes per contest — those numbers all would’ve been career lows.

The veteran guard was traded to the Clippers in a midseason trade and finished the 2020/21 campaign with the team, appearing in 18 regular season games and 13 playoff contests. L.A. then sent him to the Grizzlies in a deal for Eric Bledsoe earlier this month, but he was only included in that swap for salary-matching purposes and was never in Memphis’ plans.

Rondo will now rejoin a Lakers team with whom he won a championship in 2020. He spent two seasons with the Lakers from 2018-20. Los Angeles will have 13 players on guaranteed contracts once the signing is complete.

Pacific Notes: Williams, Rondo, Warriors, Bradley

The level of intensive game preparation that Suns head coach Monty Williams prefers appealed to All-Star point guard Chris Paul even prior to the team trading for him, writes Dana Scott of The Arizona Republic. Williams and Paul led the club to its first NBA Finals appearance in 28 years during the 2020/21 season, Paul’s first with the team.

“When I thought about going to Phoenix, see, people didn’t even know that was in my mind, right, to go to Phoenix,” Paul said of his thinking before being traded to the Suns by the Thunder during the 2020 offseason. “I knew Monty already, and regardless of how our relationship has been in the past, or even that year when I played for him, I know his mindset, so I know he prepares, right? It’s a preparation thing, too. You want to know when you in the last minute, two minutes in the game that coach, that coach can give you X’s and O’s.”

There’s more out of the Pacific Division:

  • Veteran point guard Rajon Rondo, expected to return to the Lakers on a veteran’s minimum deal this week, will be an obvious locker room boon, but Bill Oram of The Athletic wonders how Rondo will contribute on the court. Oram notes that Rondo, who won his second NBA title as a key role player for Los Angeles in 2020, was not nearly as valued a rotation player in a 2021 postseason spent with the Lakers’ cross-town rivals, the Clippers.
  • The Warriors are not believed to be considering adding veteran guard Avery Bradley, tweets Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area. An 11-year vet, Bradley began the 2020/21 season with the Heat before being traded to the Rockets. He averaged 6.4 PPG on 37.4% field goal shooting, to go along with 2.1 RPG and 1.7 APG, in 27 games. The Rockets declined their $5.9MM team option on Bradley before the start of free agency this summer, making him an unrestricted free agent.
  • In case you missed it, 34-year-old former NBA point guard Darren Collison is set to work out for the Warriors this week. Collison last suited up for the Pacers during the 2018/19 season, before surprisingly announcing his retirement during free agency in the summer of 2019.

Lakers Notes: Rondo, Thomas, Jordan, Handy

Rajon Rondo appears likely to join the Lakers after he clears waivers on Monday, even though the team can only offer a veteran’s minimum contract, writes Dave McMenamin of ESPN. Rondo reached a buyout agreement on Saturday with the Grizzlies, who apparently never had any intention of keeping the veteran guard after acquiring him from the Clippers two weeks ago. Details on the buyout haven’t been made available, but he was set to make a base salary of $7.5MM in the final season of a two-year contract.

Rondo is reportedly eager to return to L.A. and rejoin the franchise where he won an NBA title in 2019/20. The Lakers are over the salary cap and already used their taxpayer mid-level exception to add former Heat guard Kendrick Nunn.

Rondo would be the fifth former Laker to return to the team this offseason, McMenamin notes, joining Dwight HowardTrevor ArizaWayne Ellington and Kent Bazemore.

There’s more from Los Angeles:

  • The Lakers were “strongly considering” adding Isaiah Thomas to their roster, but Rondo’s buyout has “clearly changed things,” tweets Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. Thomas worked out for the team earlier this month, along with Darren Collison and Mike James, and is hoping to find a way back to the NBA after playing just three games for the Pelicans last season.
  • Center DeAndre Jordan could be a candidate for the Lakers if he agrees to a buyout with the Nets, ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne suggested on a recent appearance on the “Mason & Ireland” show (hat tip to Dan Feldman of NBC Sports). Shelburne speculates that any move won’t happen until midseason, although a report this week stated that Jordan may not be with Brooklyn when training camps open September 28. The veteran center, who played the first 10 seasons of his career with the cross-town Clippers, is owed nearly $20MM over the next two years.
  • Appearing on Sirius XM NBA Radio, assistant coach Phil Handy cautioned that there’s still a lot of work to do after the offseason talent upgrade (hat tip to Corey Hansford of Lakers Nation). “Paper doesn’t win championships for us,” Handy said. “Those names that are on that paper, are some phenomenal names. … We gotta do our work and make sure we gel. Do we fit? These guys, they gotta figure out ways to play with each other and sacrifice, and let their names take over.”

Rajon Rondo Bought Out By Grizzlies, Likely To Join Lakers

Rajon Rondo and the Grizzlies have agreed to a contract buyout, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (via Twitter). Rondo was traded to Memphis in a three-way deal that sent Eric Bledsoe to the Clippers.

According to Charania (via Twitter), the 35-year-old two-time NBA champion could be on his way back to Los Angeles, though not to the Clippers. Charania reports that the Lakers are the frontrunner to sign Rondo. If the point guard does return to the Lakers, it would be his third season with the team — he won a title with the team in the 2020 bubble.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link) confirms the Lakers’ interest. Rondo will clear waivers on Monday, and Wojnarowski says he will likely be signed into one of the Lakers’ final roster spots.

While the Lakers did an impressive job filling out their roster following the trade for Russell Westbrook, the backup point guard spot was one notable hole. Rondo was unable to replicate his success with the Lakers in this year’s playoffs run with the Clippers, but should provide a solid, competent play-maker off the bench, especially as young guards Malik Monk and Kendrick Nunn are both more likely to see time at the shooting guard spot.

Bobby Marks of ESPN adds (via Twitter) that Rondo was never asked to report to the Grizzlies or take a physical, calling it as sure a sign as you can get that a subsequent move would be made. In a separate tweet, he says that the same is true for Spanish forward Juan Hernangomez.

Grizzlies Waive Sean McDermott To Complete Trade With Wolves

In order to create room on their 20-man roster to accommodate a one-for-two trade with the Timberwolves, the Grizzlies have waived wing Sean McDermott, the team announced today in a press release.

McDermott, who went undrafted out of Butler in 2020, quickly caught on with the Grizzlies, signing a two-way deal with the team last November. He appeared in 18 NBA games during his rookie season, averaging 2.2 PPG and 1.1 RPG in limited action (8.8 MPG).

Because McDermott’s two-way contract covered two seasons, he had remained under team control to start the 2021/22 league year, but it looks like he’s no longer in the team’s plans for the time being.

Memphis now has an open two-way contract slot, with Killian Tillie occupying the other one. Yves Pons, who is on an Exhibit 10 contract, looks like a candidate to claim the second two-way deal before the regular season, notes Chris Herrington of The Daily Memphian (Twitter link).

Besides Tillie and Pons, the Grizzlies’ other 18 players are on guaranteed contracts. That includes Juan Hernangomez and Jarrett Culver, who were acquired from Minnesota in exchange for Patrick Beverley in the trade that was completed today, and Rajon Rondo, whom Herrington doesn’t expect to still be on the team when the season begins (Twitter link).

Southwest Notes: Markkanen, Lamb, Grizzlies, Mavs’ Staff

The Mavericks would be happy to acquire Lauri Markkanen from the Bulls if he would agree sign under market value so they could fit him into their $11MM traded player exception, according to Tim Cato of The Athletic. In that sign-and-trade scenario, the Mavericks likely wouldn’t have to give up a rotation player.

The alternative would be to offer Markkanen a three-year deal in the $44MM range. The Bulls have some interest in Maxi Kleber, Cato adds. Kleber has a base salary of $8.75MM next season and his 2022/23 salary is non-guaranteed. However, the Mavericks would be giving up a rotation piece and replacing him with a player with a higher salary.

We have more from the Southwest Division:

  • The Rockets have made a two-way qualifying offer to Anthony Lamb but he hopes that he proved in summer league play he deserves a standard contract, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle writes. “Hopefully, I convince them I deserve more,” Lamb said. He averaged 7.2 PPG, 5.4 RPG and 1.8 APG and played strong defense in five outings at Las Vegas.
  • The Grizzlies have become a proverbial dumping ground for teams looking to move contracts they’re trying to shed, says Mark Giannotto of the Memphis Commercial Appeal. Their recent acquisition of Patrick Beverley – who is being flipped to Minnesota – and Rajon Rondo from the Clippers demonstrates that strategy. Memphis has made a number of similar moves in recent years, stockpiling first-round draft picks and opening up cap space after this season with the hope landing another star to join Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr.
  • The Mavericks are looking to add another assistant to Jason Kidd’s staff, according to Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News, who tweets that they’ve interviewed at least two female candidates with the aim of hiring one of them if the right candidate is found. Dallas had a female assistant last season in Jenny Boucek, who joined Rick Carlisle‘s staff in Indiana.

Grizzlies Trade Bledsoe To Clippers For Beverley, Rondo, Oturu

AUGUST 16: The Grizzlies and Clippers have put out press releases officially announcing the trade.

AUGUST 15: The Grizzlies and Clippers have agree to a trade that will send veteran point guard Eric Bledsoe back to Los Angeles in exchange for Patrick Beverley, Rajon Rondo, and Daniel Oturu, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

Bledsoe, who began his NBA career with the Clippers back in 2010, was traded from New Orleans to Memphis earlier in the offseason as part of a salary-dump deal that also sent Steven Adams to the Grizzlies. A report at the time of the agreement indicated that Bledsoe was unlikely to remain in Memphis, though it was unclear if the plan was to trade him or buy him out.

This trade, a three-for-one swap, will help generate some roster flexibility for a Clippers team that had been carrying 16 players on fully guaranteed contracts. Los Angeles will now have 14 players on guaranteed deals, plus Yogi Ferrell on a non-guaranteed salary.

Swapping out Beverley ($14.32MM), Rondo ($8.25MM), and Oturu ($1.52MM) for Bledsoe ($18.13MM) will also save the Clippers some money on a tax bill that was projected to be worth $125MM. According to ESPN’s Bobby Marks (via Twitter), that projection will dip to about $95MM.

The three outgoing players are all on expiring contracts, while Bledsoe is on a pseudo-expiring deal — his $19.38MM salary for 2022/23 is only partially guaranteed for $3.9MM. Because only Beverley and Oturu are required for salary-matching purposes, L.A. will generate a trade exception worth Rondo’s $8.25MM salary, Marks notes.

Although the Clippers will sacrifice a little depth in the trade, Bledsoe is a bounce-back candidate who could conceivably provide the club with some of the play-making and defense lost by moving Beverley and Rondo. Bledsoe had a down year with the Pelicans in 2020/21, but he averaged 5.5 assists per game during his time in Milwaukee from 2018-20 and earned All-Defensive nods in both seasons.

The Grizzlies, meanwhile, save a little 2022/23 money in the deal while taking on some extra salary for ’21/22. Memphis is now facing a roster crunch of its own, with 17 players on fully guaranteed contracts.

According to Wojnarowsi (Twitter link), the Grizzlies will be “open-minded” in weighing additional roster moves involving Beverley, Rondo, and/or Oturu and will likely consider flipping one or more of them in separate deals.

Memphis is already relatively deep at the point guard spot, with Tyus Jones backing up Ja Morant and De’Anthony Melton also capable of playing the position. As such, it’s hard to imagine both Beverley and Rondo starting the season with the club.

Because they’re on smaller expiring deals, Beverley and Rondo should be easier for the Grizzlies to move in subsequent trades than Bledsoe was. The move to turn one bigger contract into multiple smaller ones is somewhat reminiscent of a trade the team completed during the 2019 offseason, sending out Chandler Parsons‘ oversized expiring deal for Solomon Hill and Miles Plumlee, who were each earning about half of what Parsons was.

Clippers Notes: Beverley, Rondo, Kennard, Batum

Clippers guard Patrick Beverley will face a suspension at the start of next season for shoving Chris Paul from behind in Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports reports. The incident occurred during the fourth quarter of the Suns’ clinching victory. Beverley has since apologized on Twitter, stating, “@CP3 emotions got the best of me last night gang. My bad wasn’t meant for you. Congrats on making it to the Finals. Best of Luck.”

We have more on the Clippers:

  • With Kawhi Leonard dealing with an unknown knee injury and potentially opting out, and Reggie Jackson and Nicolas Batum headed to unrestricted free agency, the team faces an uncertain future after reaching the conference finals for the first time, Andrew Greif of the Los Angeles Times writes. The expiring contracts of Beverley and Rajon Rondo could be used as trade chips, and the Clips could also explore trade options for Luke Kennard, whose didn’t play up to expectations after signing a four-year extension, Greif adds.
  • Batum isn’t sure what his future holds but he’s grateful to the organization for reviving his career after it went sour in Charlotte, according to Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times. “Now look where I am right now, just incredible. It’s amazing to what happened to me this year,” he said. “I can’t thank enough the Clippers’ organization for giving me a chance to be a basketball player again. I wasn’t sure what I could do this year, and they give me a chance to be a player again.”
  • In case you missed it, Paul George believes the team would have made the Finals if Leonard was healthy. He’s also eager to recruit players for next season. Get the details here.