JULY 19: Rondo’s one-year deal with the Pelicans will be for $3.3MM, according to Shams Charania of The Vertical (Twitter link). The signing is now official.
JULY 15: The Pelicans have agreed to a one-year deal with veteran point guard Rajon Rondo, league sources tell Shams Charania of The Vertical (Twitter link). Charania’s report adds that the four-time All-Star met with the Pelicans twice (Thursday and Saturday) before reaching an agreement with New Orleans.
After he was waived by the Bulls last month, Rondo drew interest from several teams including the Lakers and Knicks. A late-season surge — that was cut short by an injury in the playoffs — helped Rondo rebuild some of the value he lost in the beginning of last season.
Rondo, 31, spent last season in Chicago where he posted totals of 7.8 PPG, 6.7 APG, and 5.1 RPG in 69 games (42 starts). However, Rondo’s tumultuous stint in Chicago included losing his starting role, a social media feud with former teammates Jimmy Butler and Dwyane Wade, and a seemingly abrupt parting of ways. Rondo originally signed a two-year, $28MM deal with the Bulls but the second year was only partially guaranteed. The Bulls saved $10MM by severing ties with Rondo.
In joining New Orleans, Rondo reunites with DeMarcus Cousins, the Pelicans’ prized acquisition from last season, with whom he teamed in Sacramento during the 2015/16 campaign. In a Christmas Day feature in 2015, James Jones of the Sacramento Bee detailed how strong the bond between the veteran Rondo and emotional-yet-talented center Cousins developed.
“He’s a misunderstood kid,” Rondo said. “I think that’s why I gravitate toward him so much. I love what he’s doing.”
Trading Tim Frazier to the Wizards for a second-round pick left a vacancy that Rondo now fills. It’s likely that Rondo will mostly reprise his role as a reserve for the Pelicans in 2017/18. The team agreed to a five-year, $126MM deal with Jrue Holiday to be the team’s long-term point guard.
Rondo, a former NBA champion with the 2008 Celtics, will give Holiday opportunities to play off the ball and form a potent triumvirate with Cousins and Anthony Davis. Rondo holds the reputation of one of the NBA’s best passers and gives New Orleans strong depth in case of an injury.
Terms of the deal aren’t yet known, but the Pelicans still have most of their mid-level exception available.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.