Rajon Rondo

Southeast Notes: Hawks, Richards, Bacon, Hornets

An exact recovery timeline for new Hawks guard Kris Dunn is unclear following a PRP injection to treat right knee discomfort this week, per Sarah K. Spencer of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Dunn is also still recovering from a December right ankle scope.

Breakout swingman De’Andre Hunter is still on track to return in seven-to-10 weeks following a February 8 right meniscus surgery. The Hawks noted that Hunter has started to partake in “weight-bearing lower limb strength activities, form shooting and ball handling.”

The Hawks also revealed that reserve point guard Rajon Rondo participated in shooting and running drills this week, his latest injury this season being a left ankle sprain incurred last month.

There’s more out of the Southeast Division:

  • The Hornets have sent rookie center Nick Richards back to their G League affiliate, the Greensboro Swarm, according to Quinton Wash of Hornets.com. Richards, the No. 42 selection out of Kentucky in the 2020 draft, has played limited minutes across eight games with the club so far this season.
  • In his first season for the injury-ravaged Magic, swingman Dwayne Bacon has proven his worth both as a starter and a sparkplug off the bench, according to Roy Parry of the Orlando Sentinel“When you’re in a game at such a high level, you’re not going to make every shot, so you’ve just got to stick with it,” Bacon said. “The same intensity, same, just everything, the total ingredients to be a good shooter, you’ve got to do the same thing, each and every time.”
  • After missing out on All-Star inclusion altogether during the 2019/20 season, Wizards shooting guard Bradley Beal finds himself an All-Star starter for the first time this year. Fred Katz of The Athletic details Beal’s journey to starter status this season. “I definitely think the snub [last year] has a little bit to do with it,” Beal said. “I wouldn’t say all the way to the point to where I would start, but I think it was just gaining the recognition of last year and then it just carried over to this year and me just constantly working on my game and playing the way I’ve been playing.”

Southeast Notes: Hawks, Vincent, Monk, Pierce

Earlier this week, Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk updated Mike Conti of Sports Radio 92.9 The Game (Twitter link) on the health and availability status of a handful of Atlanta players. Veteran point guard Rajon Rondo and center Onyeka Okongwu could be available later this week. Sharpshooting forward Danilo Gallinari, a pricey offseason acquisition, will not be traveling with the club on the road this week but is nearing his own return.

Hawks shooting guard Bogdan Bogdanovic, however, will miss “several weeks” as he continues to rehabilitate from the avulsion fracture in his right knee. JD Shaw of Hoops Rumors tweets that later examinations did not reveal further ligament damage.

Meanwhile, after requiring a walking boot following a December 29 right ankle surgery, Hawks reserve guard Kris Dunn had the boot removed today, Sarah K. Spence of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports (Twitter link). He’ll be reevaluated in two weeks.

There’s more out of the Southeast Division:

  • With the Heat lineup limited by coronavirus health and safety protocols and injuries, sharpshooting guard Gabe Vincent showcased his ability to perform at the NBA level, scoring a career-best 24 points in a 137-134 Tuesday overtime defeat to the Sixers. Vincent, signed to a two-way contract this season, could warrant a look even when all of Miami’s players return, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reports. “He is a very good basketball player,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “That extends far beyond spot-up shooting … Can guard multiple positions, competes, good team defender. Rebounds at his position. Offensively, you can play him like we did last night as our point guard.”
  • Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer posits that shooting guard Malik Monk might be just what the doctor ordered as the Hornets struggle on offense. Monk not been a part of the Charlotte rotation yet this season. The 22-year-old has appeared in just two games for Charlotte this season, averaging 5.5 MPG. Across his four-year career, he is averaging 8.5 PPG, 1.9 APG and 1.7 APG.
  • In a roundtable of NBA writers for The Athletic, Chris Kirschner opines that Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce will be on the figurative “hot seat” this season. After a blistering 4-1 start, the Hawks went 1-4 in their subsequent five games. Several of those defeats came at the hands of the Knicks, Cavaliers, and Hornets, hardly Eastern Conference powerhouses. The Hawks are currently hanging onto the No. 8 seed in the East, having lavished significant offseason money on veteran depth.

Hawks Guard Rajon Rondo Sidelined By Knee Issue

Hawks guard Rajon Rondo will enter a period of rest and rehabilitation to strengthen his right knee, the team tweets. He will miss at least the next three games and be reviewed prior to the team’s three-game West Coast trip. That journey begins January 13 in Phoenix.

Rondo has been battling issues with both knees this season. He missed two games with left knee soreness and was medically cleared for Monday’s game against New York but did not play.

Rondo has appeared in only two regular-season games since signing a two-year, $15MM contract with the Hawks.

With Rondo out, Brandon Goodwin will likely be the primary backup to Trae Young. Goodwin has averaged 12.6 MPG in five appearances this season.

Rondo joins two other high-profile free agent signees, Danilo Gallinari and Kris Dunn, on the sidelines. Gallinari will miss at least two weeks with an ankle sprain, while Dunn underwent ankle surgery on New Year’s Eve and will be reevaluated in mid-January.

Rondo played an important role in helping the Lakers capture the NBA title last season despite suffering a fractured right thumb shortly after arriving at Orlando for the restart. He came back to average 8.9 PPG, 4.3 RPG and 6.6 APG off the bench in 16 postseason games.

Southeast Notes: Capela, Rondo, Beal, Gordon

The Hawks had to wait a long time for their first glimpse of new center Clint Capela, but he seems ready to provide what they’re expecting, writes Sarah K. Spencer of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Capela was acquired all the way back at the trade deadline in February, but he wasn’t able to play because of a heel injury that lingered into the summer. In Friday’s preseason opener, he showed he can still be a force on the boards, grabbing 14 rebounds in 20 minutes.

“That’s one of those things that you know is an area of concern. … And that’s going to be big for us,” said coach Lloyd Pierce, whose team ranked near the bottom of the league in rebounding last season. “That’s going to be really big for us because we can teach him some of our thoughts on what we like to do when we get offensive rebounds, to create extra possessions and extra opportunities, it’s going to be huge.”

Capela is a welcome sight for teammate John Collins, who can spend more time at his natural position of power forward after being used in the middle frequently last year. Collins likes playing beside a shot blocker who can anchor the defense.

“As soon as he steps on the court, he adds a defensive presence,” Collins said. “His rebounding, his experience. Clint’s not a quiet guy on the court, he’s trying to direct traffic and lead and let guys know where they are, so I feel like that’s very valuable in the long term.”

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • Rajon Rondo‘s decision to join the rebuilding Hawks makes him the oldest player on his team for the first time in his career, notes Kevin L. Chouinard of NBA.com. Two months removed from helping the Lakers win an NBA title, Rondo steps into a new role of being a veteran leader on a young squad. “Trae Young, John (Collins), Kevin Huerter, the young guys have an extreme amount of upside,” he said. “To me, honestly, I didn’t think the East was very tough this year as far as the talent. I think it was kind of up for grabs as far as which team would prevail to the top. As you’ve seen, anything can happen in the playoffs.”
  • Bradley Beal isn’t concerned about how new backcourt partner Russell Westbrook meshed with his previous star teammates, according to Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN. He said their relationship has been “smooth sailing” since the trade that brought Westbrook to the Wizards last week. “I’m easy to adapt to,” Beal said. “I’m not going to come in and say I need this shot, I need the ball here or there. Doesn’t matter. As long as we are all incorporated within offense and everybody’s eating, we’re good.”
  • Magic forward Aaron Gordon is starting the preseason on a minutes limit as he recovers from a hamstring injury he suffered during the restart, writes Roy Parry of The Orlando Sentinel. Gordon played 16 minutes in Friday’s opener, all in the first half.

Southeast Notes: Dragic, Bamba, Hawks, Rondo

If the Heat opt to insert center Meyers Leonard back into their starting lineup – where he spent most of last season – alongside Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo, it would leave just two slots in the starting five available for Goran Dragic, Tyler Herro, Kendrick Nunn, Duncan Robinson, and Avery Bradley, writes Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald.

Dragic did well coming off the bench last season before joining the starters in the playoffs. However, Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra said he hasn’t talked to the veteran point guard yet about whether or not he’ll start. Spoelstra, who pointed out that the opening night lineup wouldn’t necessarily be permanent, is confident that Dragic would be willing to accept any role.

“We’ve been in this a long time together,” the Heat coach said. “It’s great to have guys who are all about winning.”

For his part, Dragic recently said that if Spoelstra asks himself to come off the bench again, it’ll be easier to adjust to this time around, since he now has a year of experience as a Heat reserve under his belt.

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

Hawks Notes: Bogdanovic, Rondo, Collins, Gallinari

It has been a rough few years in Atlanta, where the Hawks have failed to crack the 30-win mark since the 2016/17 season. However, given the flurry of roster moves the team made to upgrade its roster in recent weeks, Bogdan Bogdanovic is confident that the Hawks are prepared to put those days of losing behind them.

“I know they went through the rebuilding, but as far as I know right now, this is the reason why they brought me here,” Bogdanovic said, per Sarah K. Spencer of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “We are all about winning right now. That’s why they’re all in this year, and they brought other players next to me that are really experienced in the league. We know why we are here, you know? It’s time to win, really.”

Of all the players signed by Atlanta this offseason, Bogdanovic received the most significant long-term commitment, a four-year, $72MM deal that includes a trade kicker and a fourth-year player option. Despite being aggressive on the terms of Bogdanovic’s offer sheet, the Hawks weren’t certain the Kings wouldn’t match, writes Sam Amick of The Athletic.

As Amick explains, before the Hawks signed Bogdanovic to that offer sheet, they explored some possible sign-and-trade scenarios with the Kings that would’ve allowed them to acquire the RFA swingman outright. Sources tell Amick that Atlanta offered Oklahoma City’s lottery-protected 2022 first-round pick as part of a potential sign-and-trade, but was rebuffed by Sacramento.

That pick isn’t especially valuable – the Thunder will probably be a lottery team in ’22, in which case it would turn into two second-round picks instead of a first – but it’s still surprising that the Kings would turn down the opportunity to acquire an asset if they were prepared to let Bogdanovic walk. It’s possible that Atlanta’s full offer didn’t appeal to Sacramento for another reason, but for now, there’s no clarity on why the Kings didn’t work to complete a sign-and-trade with the Hawks, says Amick.

Here’s more on the Hawks:

  • New Hawks point guard Rajon Rondo – who will be the oldest player on the roster – said that he’s looking to forward to “mentoring these young guys,” as Paul Newberry of The Associated Press writes. “I’m not coming here to be the starter. I’m not coming here to play 30 minutes a night. The biggest role for me is to lead,” said Rondo, who also spoke about the possibility of transitioning into a coaching or front office role with an NBA team once his playing days are over.
  • Hawks head coach Lloyd Pierce believes the team “hit a home run” in free agency and doesn’t feel as if Atlanta skipped any steps in its rebuild, writes Chris Kirschner of The Athletic.
  • Within that same story, Kirschner relays John Collins‘ comments when asked if he’ll insist on a maximum-salary contract in extension talks: “I’m not really too sure, but I just feel like with my relationship with the organization, I feel like we have nothing but positive things or nothing but positive areas to grow with, so I’m just leaning on that. I’m hoping we can come to an agreement before the season starts.”
  • Although Danilo Gallinari will be earning more than $20MM per year on his new deal with the Hawks, the team plans for him to come off the bench behind Collins. Gallinari confirmed as much when he spoke to reporters this week and indicated that he has no problem with that role, as Sarah K. Spencer writes for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Southeast Notes: Adebayo, Bertans, Rondo, Mane

Heat president Pat Riley said signing Bam Adebayo to an extension was an easy decision, writes Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. At age 23, Adebayo has already become one of the league’s best big men, averaging 15.9 points, 10.2 rebounds and 5.1 assists last season while making his first All-Star appearance.

“One of the most important things a franchise can do is to make sure that your best, youngest, cornerstone players sign on the dotted line,” Riley said. “Getting Bam his extension was a no-brainer for us because we know he will be around for years to come. That’s great for the Heat, great for the fans and great for Bam.”

Adebayo will only receive a full super-max deal, paying him 30% of the salary cap, if he earns MVP honors, tweets John Hollinger of The Athletic. That figure is 28.5% if he is a first-team All-NBA selection and 27.5% if he wins Defensive Player of the Year. If none of those things happen, Adebayo will be paid 25% of the cap. Those figures are confirmed by Chiang, who adds that Adebayo’s new contract doesn’t contain any player or team options (Twitter link).

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • Re-signing Davis Bertans gives the Wizards one sure thing on a roster filled with uncertainty, states Ava Wallace of The Washington Post. Bertans developed into one of the NBA’s most dangerous three-point shooters during his first season in Washington and was rewarded with a five-year, $80MM contract. “There’d been talk from (general manager Tommy Sheppard) and the Wizards that they wanted me to stay,” Bertans said. “But until it comes to free agency, you actually get the call that the team wants you, you can’t be sure. I was happy that it wasn’t just some talk from Tommy and the whole team, that they really, really wanted me to come back.”
  • Rajon Rondo‘s new contract with the Hawks includes a $750K incentive if he plays at least 33 games and the team reaches the playoffs, tweets Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders.
  • Karim Mane, who signed a two-way contract with the Magic on Friday, has similarities in his game to Victor Oladipo and Jrue Holiday, observes Josh Cohen of NBA.com. Mane is relentless on defense, excelling in traps, and is hard for defenders to stay in front of when he drives to the basket.

Eastern Contract Details: Heat, Rondo, Harris, Clark, Raptors

Although Maurice Harkless‘ one-year, $3.623MM deal is exactly the same amount as the bi-annual exception, the Heat completed the signing using a portion of their mid-level exception, according to Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). Avery Bradley received the remaining portion of the $9.258MM MLE, for a first-year salary of $5.635MM, Smith adds (via Twitter).

The Heat will still be hard-capped as a result of using the full mid-level exception, but they now retain their bi-annual exception to use either this season or next year, if they remain over the cap in 2021/22.

Smith (Twitter link) also passes along the exact details on Meyers Leonard‘s new contract with the Heat, which has a $9.4MM first-year salary and a team option for 2021/22 worth $10.152MM.

Here are a few more specific details on some of the new free agent contracts signed in the last couple days, via Smith unless otherwise indicated:

  • Rajon Rondo‘s two-year, $15MM deal with the Hawks has matching cap hits of $7.5MM this season and next year. It also includes $750K in annual bonuses – tied to games played and playoff appearances – that could increase the annual value to $8.25MM (Twitter link).
  • Joe Harris‘ new four-year contract with the Nets technically has a base value of $72MM, with $500K in annual bonuses tied to games played, playoff games played, and team performance (Twitter link).
  • The Magic used part of their mid-level exception to sign Gary Clark to a contract starting at $2MM. His $2.1MM second-year salary won’t become guaranteed until seven days after the 2021 moratorium (Twitter link).
  • The Raptors‘ deals for Aron Baynes, Chris Boucher, and DeAndre’ Bembry will all be non-guaranteed in year two rather than technically featuring team options, tweets Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca. That means they’ll have to be waived next summer if Toronto doesn’t want to retain them for two years.

Hawks Sign Rajon Rondo To Two-Year Deal

NOVEMBER 23: Rondo has officially signed his contract with the Hawks, the team announced in a press release.

“Rajon is an intense competitor, a proven winner and a true student of the game,” Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk said in a statement. “His resume and experience speak for themselves. We’re excited to add him to our group.”

NOVEMBER 21: The Hawks are signing free agent point guard Rajon Rondo to a two-year, $15MM deal, league sources tell Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). The contract won’t feature any team or player options, tweets Mark Medina of USA Today.

The Lakers and Clippers were both reportedly interested in signing Rondo as a free agent, but he’ll return to the Eastern Conference with a Hawks team that values his leadership and locker room presence and will be pushing hard to make it back to the playoffs in 2020/21.

Rondo is the third veteran free agent that has agreed to sign with Atlanta since free agency opened nearly 24 hours ago, joining Danilo Gallinari and Kris Dunn. As Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN notes (via Twitter), the Hawks entered free agency determined to improve defensively in the backcourt, and will do so by adding Dunn and Rondo to the mix.

Rondo played an important role in helping the Lakers capture the NBA title in Orlando this past season. He suffered a fractured right thumb shortly after arriving at the Disney World complex, but was able to return in time for the playoffs, averaging 8.9 points, 4.3 rebounds and 6.6 assists off the bench in 16 games. He turned down a minimum-salary player option in order to reach free agency.

Frank Isola of SiriusXM NBA Radio first reported earlier in the week that the Hawks were expected to offer two years and $15MM to Rondo. As Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets, the club still projects to have upwards of $20MM in cap room available, so another splash – such as a potential offer sheet for Bogdan Bogdanovic – remains possible.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Free Agent Rumors: Lakers, Gasol, KCP, Hawks, More

Having lost Dwight Howard in free agency, the Lakers may be eyeing another former Defensive Player of the Year. Marc Stein of The New York Times reports (via Twitter) that Marc Gasol has emerged as a free agent target for the Lakers. Gasol was drafted by L.A. way back in 2007 but was traded to Memphis in a package for his brother Pau Gasol and never appeared in a game for the Lakers.

As we wait to see if the two sides attempt to work toward a deal, let’s round up a few more free agency rumors…