You could make the argument that the NBA now has the most exciting off-season of any major sport. Less than two weeks after the start of free agency, almost every notable name has committed somewhere. One intriguing name that still remains is veteran point guard, Rajon Rondo. While he is no longer the all-star caliber floor general he once was, Rondo showed last season with the Bulls that he still has a lot left in the tank. Before getting injured in the playoffs, Rondo was the driving force of the Bulls’ late season success. It remains unlikely that a team will offer him a starting spot, but he could find himself being a crucial part of somebody’s rotation.
Here are three teams that should be strongly considering adding Rondo to their team.
- New Orleans Pelicans
The Pelicans have been recently linked to Rondo, and are believed to be the frontrunners to acquire his services. They have a glaring need at the backup point guard position, after bringing back Jrue Holiday on a 5-year $126 million deal. Holiday’s versatility allows the Pelicans to add another ball handler, even a ball dominant one like Rondo. Most of the minutes for Rondo would come off the bench, but it isn’t too far-fetched to believe Rondo and Holiday could play together in spurts. The combo would be excellent defensively, and put more playmaking on the court next with Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins. Rondo already has chemistry with Cousins after his stint with the Kings, and the two were said to have become close friends. The Pelicans are still trying to make the Davis and Cousins experiment work, in hopes of getting a long-term commitment from Cousins. Rondo could be just the playmaking spark the tandem needs.
- The Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers have had a busy off-season with Magic Johnson now at the reigns. They moved former top pick D’Angelo Russell to the Nets, in order to dump the salary of center Timofey Mosgov. Magic Johnson said that he wanted a leader, and believes he got that in rookie Lonzo Ball. Ball has flashed the potential to lead a team through his passing, but still needs some fine tuning. After signing Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and bringing in Brook Lopez from the trade with the Nets, the Lakers have begun building their core. Still, the team could use some more veterans, especially somebody like Rondo to help Ball progress. They are low on cap space, but have a $4.3 million exception that they are looking to use. It would be interesting to see what Rondo could do for the purple and gold.
- The New York Knicks
After firing Phil Jackson, the Knicks are looking for some sense of direction. Trading Porzingis would have been a devastating move to the franchise, but even with him more work has to be done. The team renounced the rights to Derrick Rose to make room for the 4-year contract they handed Tim Hardaway Jr. It is still unknown if they plan on bringing him back. With the 8th pick in the draft, the Knicks took point guard Frank Ntilikina, in hopes that he can lock up that position for the next decade. Ntilikina has amazing tools and measurable, but was the youngest player in the draft and still extremely raw. Throwing him straight into the fire could ruin his confidence and only hurt his potential. Rondo could act as a place holder for Ntilikina, providing the Knicks with a great playmaking veteran to put alongside Porzingis, and a mentor for Ntilikina.
A deal for Rondo could come soon, as he a meeting set up with the Pelicans. Still, nothing has been decided yet, and there should be more interested for him. A short term deal from a contender is something we haven’t heard yet. If a deal with the Pelicans doesn’t get done, expect the Lakers or Knicks to emerge as candidates, and don’t be surprised if an elite team makes a move to sign him.