Rajon Rondo and the Memphis Grizzlies agreed to a contract buyout on Saturday, according to The Athletic‘s Shams Charania. The journeyman point guard is a bit of an enigma, but his decorated history as “Playoff Rondo” and two-time NBA champion should make him a coveted commodity for contenders.
Let’s take a look at a few of the best landing spots for Rondo as he prepares to hit free agency late in the NBA offseason, not long after being traded from the Los Angeles Clippers.
Rajon Rondo brings defense, depth to Portland Trail Blazers backcourt
If the aim is to keep superstar Damian Lillard in Portland for the long haul, the Trail Blazers would help themselves out a lot by acquiring someone like Rondo.
Between Lillard and CJ McCollum, the Blazers have one of the best offensive backcourts in the NBA, yet have slacked on the defensive end. Rondo is not only a great second-unit floor general, but when he’s locked in, he can still be a stout defender.
Rondo’s leadership, championship experience and supreme basketball IQ could also help Portland’s stars unlock another level of their games. He’d also be more like another coach on the floor, as former star player Chauncey Billups prepares to take the reins as Blazers head coach.
Although he may not pop out or have a massive impact on his own as a player, Rondo is a glue guy mentor who’d be a huge, respected presence in Portland’s locker room.
Philadelphia 76ers acquire Rajon Rondo with Ben Simmons’ future uncertain
Rondo knows what it’s like to have his shooting ability picked apart and downright disrespected. However, his shooting woes were never as severe as what Ben Simmons has dealt with. The difference for Rondo, too, is that he was willing to work hard on it.
The gym rat mentality Rondo has could rub off on Simmons in the unlikely event he sticks around Philadelphia. Regardless of Simmons’ fate, as a probable blockbuster trade looms, Rondo is a great addition to the 76ers, especially at such a bargain cost.
Think about it this way: Doc Rivers is Philadelphia’s head coach. He was at the helm when Rondo helped lead the Boston Celtics to an NBA championship. Rondo is a mercurial personality, but if anyone knows how to coexist with him, it’s Rivers.
Joel Embiid would really benefit from a proven champion alongside him like Rondo. Philly also has young guards who’d benefit from the wisdom Rondo could impart. The Sixers might be Rondo’s best fit overall in terms of familiarity with Rivers, opportunity to contribute and chances at a potential championship.
Rajon Rondo returns to the Los Angeles Lakers
This seems like a pretty obvious choice. Heck, the Lakers have been uber-aggressive this summer in overhauling their roster.
Rondo was such an instrumental part of the Purple and Gold’s NBA Finals triumph in the Orlando bubble. It’s just that Los Angeles has such a crowded backcourt rotation already that it’s hard to envision how Rondo could fit.
Then again, the Lakers could use another ball-handler to take some of the pressure off LeBron James in that department. LeBron is probably going to flex more toward the frontcourt as he continues to age. Rondo is an ideal catalyst to dish the ball to LA’s myriad of 3-point shooters while allowing LeBron to operate more down low.
If Rondo does follow in Dwight Howard’s footsteps and runs it back with the Lakers after a one-season hiatus from the team, it’d certainly make the iconic franchise that much more fun to watch in 2021-22.