Rajon Rondo is all but confirmed to opt-out of his player option and enter free agency. After a stellar off-season, his value is as high as it can be. For the Los Angeles Lakers, Rondo was the best player and proverbial ‘third-star’ behind LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
Therefore, Rondo thinks he can leverage more money than his $2.8 million player option. He will enter free agency, and there are teams that are interested in bringing in the two-time NBA champion.
But what would be the best landing spot for Rondo?
Option 1 – Atlanta Hawks
Rondo’s best option would be going to the Atlanta Hawks. The team has the most cap-space out of all his options, therefore he can maximize his earnings. Additionally, Rondo would not be burdened with being the starting point guard. He will most likely provide veteran experience to the team while deputizing for Hawks’ star Trae Young.
The Hawks will be looking for a solid veteran after the retirement of Vince Carter earlier this year. Rondo is a good option for them and would help Trae Young immensely with his passing. Rondo is one of the elite passers of his generation and a high basketball-IQ player. This move benefits both parties.
Option 2 – Los Angeles Clippers
Rumors are afloat that the Clippers are interested in bringing Rajon Rondo in as their primary point guard option. The Clippers shockingly lost in the second round of the playoffs to the Denver Nuggets. Analysts suggest that their loss was due to a lack of on-court leadership.
Rondo would solve this problem, as he was the leader of the second unit of the Lakers whenever LeBron rested throughout the season. Additionally, he is a rare pass-first point guard, something the Clippers are in dire need of. A player like Rondo would relieve Kawhi Leonard and Paul George of playmaking duties.
However, Rondo is no longer a starter in the NBA. Last season, he averaged only 20 minutes per game. He played the role of secondary leader well, but at 34, he cannot be a primary option anymore.
Additionally, Rondo is notorious for having a mediocre regular season before elevating his play in the playoffs. The Clippers need a regular point guard who can play well during the regular and post-season.
Option 3 – Los Angeles Lakers
Of course, if the Lakers can cough up some more money for Rondo, there is no harm in keeping him. He has a solidified place in the team and a great working relationship with LeBron James. For a team that is shuffling the entire deck to go back to back, keeping Rondo would be a major coup- an important piece in the Lakers’ attempts to rebuild.
However, it’s unlikely that the Lakers will bring Rondo back, especially with reports that they are close to trading for OKC guard Dennis Schröder. The Lakers made this move in order to replace Rajon Rondo from the team, meaning they don’t expect him to return.
Rajon Rondo needs to maximize
Rondo has an important decision to make. If he is leaving the Lakers for the money, he should enter free agency with the mindset of maximizing his earnings on what is most likely his last big contract. However, if he wants more playing time, he can get that with the Lakers or another big team in need of a pass-first point guard.
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