Rajon Rondo

Rajon Rondo Expected To Miss 4-5 Weeks

12:17pm: Rondo underwent surgery today to repair a ligament in his right ring finger, the Lakers announced in a press release. He’s expected to make a full recovery in about four or five weeks, according to the team.

11:03am: A frustrating season for Lakers point guard Rajon Rondo has taken another unfortunate turn, as the finger injury he suffered earlier this week will require surgery, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter links). According to Charania, Rondo is expected to miss about four weeks of action after undergoing the procedure on his right hand.

That right hand has been banged up for much of the 2018/19 season, as Rondo already missed a month due to a separate surgical procedure on the hand. He had been back on the court for just three games before being sidelined again, and has appeared in only 14 total games for the Lakers so far this season.

With Rondo likely out of action until late January, the Lakers will be without two of their veteran leaders for the short term. LeBron James is battling a strained groin, and while the team is calling him day-to-day, he’s reportedly expected to miss at least a few games.

In the absence of Rondo and James, the Lakers will lean more heavily on point guard Lonzo Ball and forward Brandon Ingram. Both youngsters played well in Los Angeles’ loss to the Kings on Thursday night — Ingram posted 22 points, while Ball nearly had a triple-double (20 points, 12 assists, nine rebounds).

LeBron James Day-To-Day, Expected To Miss Multiple Games

DECEMBER 27, 2:33pm: The Lakers are preparing for James to miss “several games” due to his left groin strain, league sources tell ESPN’s Brian Windhorst and Adrian Wojnarowski. While LeBron avoided a serious injury, there’s a healing process that will need to occur before he gets back on the court, and the team is expected to play it safe to avoid further aggravating the injury, per Windhorst and Woj.

In the short term, the Lakers will also be without Rajon Rondo, who sprained a finger and will miss Thursday’s game in Sacramento, according to the team (Twitter link).

DECEMBER 26, 12:00pm: LeBron James‘ MRI came back clean and the Lakers superstar is listed as day-to-day, per Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). James suffered a “slight groin strain” in the Lakers’ 127-101 Christmas Day win over the Warriors.

The Lakers believe James will miss at least a few games, according to Chris B. Haynes of Yahoo Sports. The four-time MVP, who has rarely been injured during his 16-year career, acknowledged his disappointment with missing the remainder of Tuesday’s game.

“I take a lot of pride in [staying healthy], so that is why it pissed me off not being able to go back into the game,” James said. “It’s more than anything being available to my teammates, to my coaching staff; that is something I take more personal than anything.”

The soon-to-be 34-year-old tallied 17 points, 13 rebounds and 5 assists in 21 minutes of action before leaving Tuesday’s win in the third quarter. Cameras picked up James telling trainers he felt “something pop” in his groin but reports suggested the injury could have been worse.

In 34 games this year, James has averaged 27.3 PPG, 8.3 RPG and 7.1 APG for the Lakers.

Head coach Luke Walton said the team wants James back “as soon as possible” but would take a cautious approach when he’s deemed ready to play.

Without their best player, the Lakers (20-14) stepped up to defeat the defending NBA champions by 26 points. While the fear of losing James for a prolonged stretch would be a daunting proposition, Lakers guard Josh Hart said the team would be prepared in that situation.

“The narrative is that it’s LeBron and the Lakers,” Hart said after Tuesday’s win. “Obviously, we hope he’s OK, but we’ve got a lot of good players…If he’s down, we’re ready to step up. We’re not scared of the spotlight.”

The Lakers continue their four-game schedule against fellow California teams on Thursday when they will face the Kings in Sacramento. James told reporters on Tuesday that he would not rule out playing, but Haynes’ report suggests that is unlikely. Los Angeles has three more games left in 2018, including Thursday’s tilt against Sacramento.

If James does indeed miss a few games, it’s possible he does not play until after the New Year, when the Lakers open 2019 against the Thunder on Jan. 2.

“Hopefully, it is not a long thing and I can get back on the floor as soon as possible,” James said.

Rajon Rondo Wanted To Stay In New Orleans

Rajon Rondo has changed teams in each of the past four offseasons, but he tells Marc J. Spears of the Undefeated he would have remained with the Pelicans if the team had made an offer. Rondo played a key role in helping New Orleans win 48 games last year and reach the second round of the playoffs. In addition to posting an 8.3/4.0/8.2 line, he became a locker room leader on a young team without much postseason experience.

“The Pelicans could have got a deal if they wanted me, but obviously they went in a different direction,” Rondo said. “They had money. But they didn’t want to sign ‘Cuz’ [DeMarcus Cousins] and they didn’t want to sign me.”

Rondo, who wound up with the Lakers, adds that he spoke with Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry frequently over the summer and misses playing for him. New Orleans brought in Elfrid Payton instead of keeping Rondo and signed Julius Randle instead of Cousins, but is off to a 15-19 start and is 14th in the West.

Rondo addresses a host of other subjects in a lengthy interview with Spears:

On his decision to sign with the Lakers and play alongside LeBron James:

“The last couple of years, the Lakers have been calling. I had a meeting with them two years ago with the role to come here and back up Lonzo [Ball] for a little bit less money. The following year it was the same thing. And with LeBron joining the team, it was a no-brainer. He didn’t call at all. But he didn’t have to call. He wanted me, obviously. The Lakers are not going to go get a point guard he doesn’t want. He had interviews in the playoffs where he talked about having a veteran guy he can trust with the ball. I feel like I am a great option for that situation.”

On LeBron’s commitment to the game:

“What he does for these young guys is unbelievable. He leads by example every night. Well, not even every night — every day when he comes into the gym. He’s a workaholic. He’s very committed to his body. You read all the articles, but when you see it every day, it’s different. He really is dedicated to what he does. It’s the reason why he’s healthy. He puts in the work, and he deserves it. Look what he’s doing.”

On his reputation as a fiery competitor:

“The perception of me on the court is probably, ‘He doesn’t do this, he doesn’t do that.’ But for the most part, I don’t have one teammate that complains about me. I’m a great teammate. I’m a great mentor. I’ve always been one of the biggest competitors that anybody can name. I love what I do. Regardless of what people think of me, I know my teammates think highly of me, and I like making the game fun for those guys, and I really love giving back because that’s what was given to me.”

On nearly getting dealt to the Timberwolves in the trade that brought Kevin Garnett to Boston:

“If I didn’t get connected with Kevin, I don’t know where I would be in the league. I was in the deal to Minnesota in 2007. There were seven players. I saw my name on the ticker on the screen and said, ‘S—, it’s over.’ And that particular time I was ready to get out of Boston anyway because it was a miserable season. We lost 18 straight. I was playing behind two guys as the third-string point guard. I was ready to move on to a new chapter. I come to find out, he told the Celtics that he wanted me there. I’m sure [Celtics president] Danny Ainge loved me, but I think KG had a lot to do with me staying as a Celtic.”

On his plans when his playing days are over:

“It’s not definite that I want to be a coach one day. I want to be a GM. I want to be a president. I want to help people. I want to put people in a position to be successful and show them the ropes.”

Western Notes: Favors, Cousins, Donovan, Lakers

Jazz forward Derrick Favors has seen his name surface in several trade rumors over the years, but the 27-year-old remains the longest-tenured player on the active roster. The latest rumor of Utah expressing interest in Bulls forward Jabari Parker once again brought forward the idea of trading Favors, who is taking everything with a grain of salt.

“I was telling one of the coaches, I could go back years and years ago and I can name each guy I was supposed to get traded for,” Favors said before the Jazz-Rockets game on Monday, according to Eric Woodyard of The Deseret News. “Every year, I can just name them so I have fun with it, I enjoy it.

“Definitely use it as motivation. But I have fun with it most of the time because most of the time I look forward to it, like ‘Who am I going to get traded for this year? Who they want me to get traded for? Where the rumors at?’ so I enjoy it.”

Favors’ awkward fit alongside Rudy Gobert could once again force the team to explore trading him, with the Georgia Tech product averaging 11.1 points and seven rebounds per game this season. He’s started in 26 of 31 games so far and signed a two-year, $40MM deal to stay with the club this past free agency.

There’s more from the Western Conference tonight:

  • Warriors coach Steve Kerr has stressed patience on DeMarcus Cousins‘ eventual return, Mark Medina of The Mercury News writes. Cousins suffered a torn Achilles this past January and remains several games away from returning. “We’re not right there. It’s still going to be some time,” Kerr said. “We’re going to be patient and continue to give DeMarcus the space he needs to prepare. When the time is right, we’ll have some things planned for him.”
  • Brett Dawson of The Athletic breaks down the Thunder‘s decision to pick up coach Billy Donovan‘s option for next season, detailing why the front office is happy with the direction Donovan is guiding the team. Oklahoma City holds the league’s fourth-best record at 20-10, including a stellar 12-3 home record, and has played with great enthusiasm and effort so far this season.
  • Rajon Rondo (hand) and Brandon Ingram (ankle) participated in full practice Thursday as they continue to work toward returning, according to Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.com. The two players were assigned to the South Bay Lakers, G League team of the Lakers, this past week to help expedite their recoveries and allow them to practice further.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 12/18/18

Here are Tuesday’s G League assignment and recalls from around the NBA:

  • The Lakers have assigned Brandon Ingram to the G League for a rehab assignment and since recalled him, according to the team’s website. The former No.2 overall pick is recovering from an ankle injury.
  • The Lakers have recalled Rajon Rondo from the South Bay Lakers, according to team’s website. The assignment was part of Rondo’s rehab from a broken right hand.
  • The Sixers have assigned Jonah Bolden to the Delaware Blue Coats, Derek Bodner of The Athletic tweets. This is Bolden’s seventh assignment in the G League this season.
  • The Wizards assigned Okaro White to the Capital City Go-Go, according to the team’s website. White scored a season-high 31 points in a game during his last stint in the G League.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 12/17/18

Here are Monday’s G League assignments and recalls from around the NBA:

  • As we relayed earlier, the Lakers assigned Rajon Rondo to their G league affiliate, the South Bay Lakers.  This is the latest step in Rondo’s rehab from a broken right hand. In 11 games this season prior to the injury, Rondo averaged 8.5 PPG, 6.5 APG, 4.5 RPG and 1.2 SPG in 25.2 minutes per contest.
  • The Pacers assigned Alize Johnson to the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, the team announced. Johnson has appeared in four games with Indiana this season and has spent most the year in the G League, where he has averaged 19.0 PPG and 13.8 RPG in nine contests.

Lakers Assign Rajon Rondo To G League

The Lakers assigned veteran point guard Rajon Rondo to their G League affiliate, the South Bay Lakers, as he continued his rehab from a broken hand, the team announced in a press release.

Rondo suffered the broken right hand in mid-November and was expected to miss four-to-five weeks. We relayed last week that Rondo would see a hand specialist to determine the next step. He reportedly experienced normal swelling in his right hand earlier this month.

The former NBA champion appeared in 11 games this season prior to the injury, averaging 8.5 PPG, 6.5 APG, 4.5 RPG and 1.2 SPG in 25.2 minutes per contest. Rondo began the year as the Lakers’ starting point guard as Lonzo Ball recovered from offseason knee surgery.

Pacific Notes: Rondo, David, Clippers, Sarver

Lakers point guard Rajon Rondo will be examined by a hand specialist on Thursday to determine the next course of action for his injury, Mike Bresnahan of Spectrum SportsNet tweets. Rondo didn’t travel with the team to its road game against Houston. He broke his right hand nearly a month ago and underwent surgery on November 15th. He was given a 4-to-5 week timetable for his recovery but has continued to experience swelling during the healing process.

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • A former Kings executive has agreed to plead guilty for funneling $13.4MM from two of the team’s sponsors and spending it on beachfront homes in Southern California, Sam Stanton of the Sacramento Bee reports. Jeffrey David, the team’s former chief revenue officer, agreed to a deal in which all of the money diverted from the Golden 1 Credit Union and Kaiser Permanente will be recouped. Prosecutors plan to argue for a sentence of 8 1/2 years, while his attorneys are expected to argue that he should serve no more than two years. David held a similar position with the Heat when the scheme was uncovered. The funds that were diverted came from advertising contracts the companies signed with the team.
  • Ample cap space, a free-spending owner in Steve Ballmer and some quality pieces already in place are the main reasons why top-level free agents will seriously consider the Clippers, Steven Loung of Sportsnet.ca argues. The Clippers have been keeping close tabs on the top two free agents next summer, Kevin Durant and Kawhi Leonard.
  • Phoenix city council members should take Suns owner Robert Sarver’s threat to move the team with a grain of salt, Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic opines. Sarver has dropped hints he’d consider moving the team to Las Vegas or Seattle if the team’s current arena isn’t upgraded. Sarver and his partners should pay more for those renovations, according to Somers, and the City of Phoenix shouldn’t buckle under his idle threat. Any move would have to be approved by the NBA’s Board of Governors and Sarver isn’t well-liked among his peers, Somers adds.

Lakers Notes: LeBron, Ingram, Rondo, Walton

After a decade and a half as competitors and teammates, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade are preparing for their final meeting tomorrow night, writes Dave McMenamin of ESPN. Wade, who hasn’t relented on plans to retire after this season, will travel with the Heat to meet LeBron and the Lakers in L.A.

“It’s bitter, and it’s sweet,” James said. “It’s sweet and sour. The sweet part about it is I’ve always loved being on the same floor with my brother. We struck up a relationship together at the combine in 2003, and it started from there. And the sour part about it is that this is our last time sharing the same court.”

James was destined for stardom as the top pick in the 2003 draft. Wade was taken at No. 5 and quickly established himself as an All-Star in Miami. They won a pair of championships as teammates with the Heat, then briefly reunited last season in Cleveland. Wade’s retirement will leave Kyle Korver and Zaza Pachulia as the only other active members of the 2003 draft class.

“The older I get and the more I’m in the game, I gain even that much more respect for these guys — the legends that we’re starting to lose along the way,” said Lakers center Tyson Chandler. “… You cherish every moment you get to compete against those type of competitors.”

There’s more Lakers news to pass along:

  • Brandon Ingram‘s sprained left ankle will keep him out of action longer than expected, according to Kyle Goon of The Orange County Register. The team’s second-leading scorer at 15.2 PPG, Ingram will miss at least another week. “We really just miss the fact that we keep losing out on a great opportunity for our team to kind of find that rhythm together,” coach Luke Walton said. “Every time we start to find a little bit of a rhythm, we lose a big piece.”
  • Rajon Rondo is still experiencing swelling in his broken right hand, tweets Mike Trudell of NBA.com. However, the swelling is considered normal and isn’t a sign that Rondo’s recovery will take longer than expected. He was given a four- to five-week projection to return after the November 15 operation.
  • A brief experience with the Memphis Tigers provided Walton with the inspiration to become an NBA coach, relays Jason Munz of The Memphis Commercial Appeal. Walton joined a former Arizona teammate on the college team’s staff during the 2011 lockout. “I went back and played for a few years after that,” Walton said, “but it was pretty evident to me after that that coaching was what I wanted to do when I got done playing.”

Pacific Notes: Curry, Beal, Rondo, Kokoskov

Warriors point guard and two-time MVP Stephen Curry could be back in action this week, according to an NBA.com post. He will go through a full practice on Tuesday with the possibility of playing against the Raptors on Thursday, coach Steve Kerr told the media. Curry has missed 10 consecutive games with a left groin strain.

We have more news from around the Pacific Division:

  • Any potential Lakers trade for Wizards guard Bradley Beal would likely have Brandon Ingram as its centerpiece, according to Eric Pincus in a Bleacher Report column. Los Angeles probably wouldn’t agree to deal Ingram plus either Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma or Josh Hart, Pincus opines. However, a package of Ingram, Rajon Rondo and Michael Beasley would add up to enough salary to absorb Beal’s hefty contract. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope couldn’t be substituted for Rondo unless he agreed to the deal, due to a quirk in rules regarding players who re-sign one-year contracts, Pincus adds.
  • The Lakers’ offense has suffered without Rondo, who is currently out with a broken hand, Joey Ramirez of the team’s website reports. The Lakers ranked fourth in scoring (116.9 ppg) and fifth in assists (26.0) before Rondo’s injury, but are 22nd in points (106.6) and 29th in assists (18.6) in the first five games without him. Rondo has been cleared for non-basketball activities but is still several weeks away from returning, Ramirez adds.
  • Suns first-year coach Igor Kokoskov believes his days as an assistant in Detroit were pivotal in his coaching career, as he explained to Chris McCosky of the Detroit News. He was a young coach with the Pistons when they reached the Eastern Conference Finals on a regular basis. “I had the privilege of being with Larry Brown for two years and Flip Saunders for three years,” Kokoskov told McCosky. “I was very fortunate to learn from those great coaches and those great players. Just being a part of that group, with those guys all in their prime, I had a chance to steal the best from those guys. I learned a lot. Especially when you are winning.”