A month after winning the 2020 NBA Finals, the Los Angeles Lakers will part ways with their veteran point guard, Rajon Rondo.
The 34-year-old guard joined the Lakers during the 2018-2019 NBA season to give the team a veteran guard to boost production off the bench. As the LeBron James-led Lakers were not ready to compete for a title yet, Rondo ended up starting in 29 of 46 matchups during an injury-riddled season for L.A. in 2018-2019.
By the time the 2019-2020 season rolled around, though, Rondo and the Lakers were ready to make a run for the Finals. This year, Rondo appeared in 48 games for the Lakers and averaged seven points and five assists off the bench.
In the playoffs, the veteran guard averaged eight points-per-game and six assists-per-game in 16 matchups, helping the Lakers solidify an NBA Finals win down in the Orlando bubble. Some members of the 2019-2020 championship team will run it back with the Lakers next season. Rondo, however, is set to become a free agent.
According to Los Angeles Times writer Brad Turner, Rondo will decline his player option for next season, which is worth $2.6 million. While the Lakers would’ve likely felt more comfortable with Rondo’s return, his departure isn’t exactly a surprise.
Early on Sunday morning, the Lakers and the Oklahoma City Thunder participated in advanced talks to strike a deal ahead of the opening of the NBA’s trade market on Monday. Per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Thunder are sending veteran guard Dennis Schroder to the Lakers in exchange for Los Angeles’ 2020 first-round pick, and veteran shooting guard, Danny Green.
Although the trade for Schroder will cost the Lakers two important assets, they’re getting a valuable player in return. Last season, Schroder appeared in 65 games for the Thunder. In an average of 30 minutes of action throughout the year, Schroder put up 18 points-per-game and knocked down 38-percent of his three-point shots.
It is believed the Lakers struck a deal with the Thunder, fully expecting Rondo to test the market. As it turns out, they made the right move. Now, a 34-year-old Rondo will hit the open market, and the Los Angeles Clippers and Atlanta Hawks are expected to be among some of the teams interested in his services.