How times change.
Just a few months ago, a number of NBA team – including the Lakers – were scrambling to try and put together a deal to acquire Rajon Rondo from the Boston Celtics.
The Dallas Mavericks “won” the bidding war after agreeing to send Jameer Nelson, Jae Crowder, Brandan Wright and a first-round pick to the Celtics, though it seems Mark Cuban’s Mavs are now ready to part ways with the 29-year-old point guard just months after acquiring him.
“No, I don’t,” said Mavericks head coach, Rick Carlisle, after being asked whether he thought Rondo would ever wear a Dallas uniform again.
So, with Rondo set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, which of the league’s other 29 teams will be vying for his services?
According to Tim Bontemps from the New York Post, the only team “willing” to offer Rondo a contract this summer will be the Los Angeles Lakers:
So where will Rondo play? It seems like the only team willing to give him a contract this summer is the Lakers. It almost certainly would make Kobe Bryant happy: The two had breakfast together in Boston shortly before Rondo was traded, and Bryant has talked openly about how much he respects Rondo’s game. At least until they inevitably begin butting heads after a few weeks together.
It’s been known for quite some time that the Lakers have planned to pursue Rondo this summer, and it seems that his poor performance this season hasn’t changed the front office’s mind when it comes to the four-time All-Star.
However, while Rondo was expecting to receive max contract offers this summer, such a scenario now seems rather unlikely, especially if the purple and gold are truly the only NBA team to go after his services.
So, how much would the 2008 NBA champion be worth on the open market?
According to Bontemps, Rondo could be looking at a deal worth less than $10 million per season:
If Rondo gets a contract offer from the Lakers, how much is he worth? He will try to get a max offer, but that seems impossible. He may even struggle to exceed $10 million to $12 million a year after the way he’s struggled the past season and a half.
It’s worth remembering that there’s still two months to go before we hit free agency, and a lot of things can change during that time.
We also don’t know whether the Lakers are actually still considering signing Rondo – this is all hearsay, remember – especially after Jordan Clarkon’s emergence this season.
One thing’s for sure, though: The Lakers are certain to be talking to a lot of free agents this summer thanks to their upcoming cap space, and Rajon Rondo could very likely be in the mix when Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss start reaching out to players around the league, so stay tuned.