He may not be the same dynamic point guard that posted triple-doubles regularly back with the Boston Celtics, but Rajon Rondo’s value is still extremely high going into the offseason. The University of Kentucky product proved to be frugal for a team that was boasting with stars in LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
Rondo recently opted out of his current contract to become a free agent this offseason. He’ll definitely command a better salary after his performances in the postseason. The Lakers can look to offer a better price compared to what he’ll field from other teams, or they make look in different directions in order to bring on a rumored target in Oklahoma City Thunder guard Chris Paul.
The floor general’s recent contract was worth $2.6 million that he opted out of. Finding a deal that’ll be anywhere above $10 million will be definitely a risk.
Even so, we’ve put together the best teams that can suite Rondo as he heads into free agency.
4. Denver Nuggets
The Nuggets saw great success after pushing a Western Conference favorite in the Los Angeles Clippers out of the playoffs after they blew a 3-1 lead. Even so, they just didn’t have enough maturity to get over the hump against a veteran-led Lakers squad. The Mile High City club will surely make minor moves to support their co-stars in Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokić.
Adding Rajon Rondo into the mix will give the Nuggets a much-needed veteran presence in the locker room. He’ll likely come off the bench, a role that he’s grown accustomed to during his time with the Lakers. Having a mentor in Rondo for Murray would be beneficial for Murray’s conduction when running the offense as well.
If the Nuggets are able to obtain Rondo’s services for a low price, the move could add another veteran presence in the locker room as well, something that’s been of use to them from Paul Millsap.
3. Philadelphia 76ers
This move would reunite Rondo with his beloved former coach Doc Rivers. Though Rivers will more than likely be on the search for shooters in the offseason, Rondo gives him a second set of eyes on the court due to their familiarity with one another. Rondo previously played for Rivers with the Boston Celtics, winning a championship in 2008.
Although he may not be the best shooter available in the offseason, Rondo’s 3-point shooting served as a key part of the Lakers offense at times when buckets became hard to find. He shot 40 percent from 3-point range in the postseason while attempting 3.1 treys per contest.
With the 76ers’ style of play sure to change in the upcoming season, Rivers could get a leg up on the competition with Rondo. Taking him off the market could prove to be a steal for Rivers and company.
2. Boston Celtics
One of the Celtics’ key weaknesses this season was their lackluster bench that failed to keep or sustain leads throughout most games. General manager Danny Ainge has acknowledged that, stating that the team will definitely have to look at getting better from that perspective next season. Kemba Walker, barring any off-the-wall offseason trades, will be their starting point guard next season once more.
However, their current backup point guard slot could use an update. Brad Wanamaker currently fills that role. As his play hasn’t been mediocre, it still only amounts to subpar at best. Pairing Rajon Rondo with a team he once called home for the majority of his career along with his former head coach in Brad Stevens could do some justice for the Celtics desperately looking to upgrade their bench production.
Sliding Rondo into the backup position alongside Marcus Smart will play huge for the Celtics on the defensive end, as both guards are known for their pressure they apply on ball handlers as well as playmaking abilities on offense. The only obstacle left would then be for the Celtics to find legitimate shooting off the bench as well.
1. Los Angeles Lakers
There’s honestly nothing simpler than running it back. The Lakers are coming off their 17th championship in franchise history. While they’ll surely be looking to make some moves in order to defend that title, keeping Rajon Rondo in the fold should be of utter importance in the offseason.
Rondo provided valuable minutes for a Laker club without the services of Avery Bradley while away in the NBA Disney Bubble. If the Showtime club is able to pull off recently rumored deals involving players such as Chris Paul or Bradley Beal, the Lakers increase their chances of immediate contention once more.
Having Rondo back in case of emergencies wouldn’t harm the cause. He averaged 6.6 assists during the postseason, his lowest average in any playoff year since 2007-2008 with the Celtics. Though known for his playmaking abilities, the 34-year old guard has given up most of that responsibility to James, the team’s leader in assists.