Rajon Rondo is returning to the Lakers.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports that Rondo plans to sign a one-year, $2.6 million deal with the Lakers after agreeing to a buyout with the Grizzlies over the weekend. Rondo, who played last season with the Hawks and Clippers, was traded from the Clippers to the Grizzlies earlier this offseason.
Rajon Rondo plans to sign a one-year, $2.6M deal with the Lakers upon clearing waivers today, sources tell ESPN. He agreed to a contract buyout with Memphis on Saturday. Rondo will still make his full $7.5M salary this season between buyout and new deal. https://t.co/ehFzHb6pVC
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) August 30, 2021
Rondo, who will turn 36 in February and is entering his 16th season, played a key reserve role on the Lakers team that won the 2020 title in the Orlando bubble, making timely shots and often running the offense during key stretches when LeBron James rested. He averaged nearly 25 minutes per game off the bench and ranked fourth on the team in total minutes during the NBA Finals against the Heat.
Lakers roster and projected lineup
The Rondo signing continues a trend for the Lakers, who have assembled a veteran team that enters as favorites to win the Western Conference. In addition to trading for nine-time All-Star Russell Westbrook to pair with LeBron James, who is entering his 19th season, the Lakers also signed 37-year-old Carmelo Anthony, 36-year-old Trevor Ariza, 35-year-old Dwight Howard and 33-year-old Wayne Ellington.
MORE: How will Russell Westbrook fit in with the Lakers?
Upon first glance, it’s unclear how much Rondo will ultimately play as he’ll compete with Kendrick Nunn for minutes behind Westbrook. Head coach Frank Vogel has plenty of unresolved questions that extend beyond Rondo’s immediate fit:
- Who starts at shooting guard?
- Will Anthony Davis move full time to center?
- How often will James and/or Davis rest?
- How should the Lakers incorporate their two-way players?
|PG||Russell Westbrook||Kendrick Nunn||Rajon Rondo|
|SG||Talen Horton-Tucker||Malik Monk||Wayne Ellington|
|SF||LeBron James||Trevor Ariza||Kent Bazemore|
|PF||Anthony Davis||Carmelo Anthony|
|C||Marc Gasol||Dwight Howard|
With Rondo, James, Anthony, Ariza and Howard, the Lakers now have five players in their 16th season or later, all of whom could factor significantly into the rotation. There are only eight other players across the entire NBA entering their 16th season or later, including both Paul Millsap and JJ Redick, neither of whom have signed.
MORE: The top 10 games on the NBA schedule
The Lakers open their season Oct. 19 against the Warriors. Check out their entire schedule here.