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Pelicans still hopeful to retain Rajon Rondo despite Elfrid Payton addition

rajon rondo, elfrid payton

After luring point guard Elfrid Payton to a one-year deal, the New Orleans Pelicans remain hopeful in retaining court general Rajon Rondo.

As per Marc Stein of the New York Times:

Rondo, who has rejuvenated his career with the Pelicans, is part of the unrestricted free agent market this summer. Along with DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis, Rondo guided the Pelicans to their most successful season in a decade with a 48-34 record in the regular season and was even tagged as the Golden State Warriors’ kryptonite prior to the playoffs.

Come postseason, they made it up to the second-round. Rondo logged in 8.3 points and 8.2 assists in the regular season and 10.3 points and 12.2 assists per game in the playoffs.

Though it makes perfect sense to acquire a player that bolstered their franchise, the Pelicans’ financial situation doesn’t look too good.

Prior to the Payton acquisition, they already have $100 million worth of contracts — not including Cousins who is also an unrestricted free agent. If they get Cousins, the Pelicans would be going over the projected luxury tax line of $123 million.

As reported by William Guillory of The Times-Picayune, Pelicans general manager Dell Demps expressed his desire in acquiring the key pieces but remains wary of the limits given by their financial status:

“If there’s a player that puts us in a position to compete for a championship, we’re going to go for it,” general manager Dell Demps said of paying the luxury tax in May. “We’re not going to just spend foolishly, either. We’re going to try to be efficient, we’re going to try to maximize our financial situation.”