Rajon Rondo is back with the Lakers a year after leaving the franchise. The Lakers brought the veteran point guard back after he agreed to a buyout with the Memphis Grizzlies. Rondo left to secure his last big contract and is back in LA where he won a championship last year.
Rondo left to join the Hawks, but they ended up trading him to the LA Clippers by the deadline last season. The Clippers wanted Rondo to replicate the same performances he had with the Lakers. But clashes with key Clippers stars like Kawhi Leonard meant Rondo spent most of his time on the bench.
The Clippers traded him to Memphis in the offseason, putting an end to their partnership. Rondo eventually made his way back to LA, reuniting with LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Rondo will be expected to play behind Russell Westbrook at point guard, coming off the bench for him.
Rondo's return to LA will be a big boost. As many fans and analysts have noted, Rondo is one of the most intelligent players in NBA history. Many even describe him as a coach that plays on the court. Having that degree of intelligence and championship pedigree will be vital for the Lakers going forward.
In fact, Rondo's return to the Lakers got him very emotional. When he came onto the court during the Lakers' preseason game against the Nets, the fans at the Staples Center gave him a loud ovation. Rondo spoke after the game about what the ovation and the reception from the fans meant to him.
“I almost cried again last night. It means everything. I was away for a year…came back and the reception I got last night, I had to try to focus on the game. The love I got, the attention from the crowd getting back in the game. It was amazing.”
Rondo's emotions almost got the better of him. But it wasn't like his media day with the Lakers, where he jokingly got emotional about LeBron and AD wanting him back in LA. Clearly, the love was something Rondo was not anticipating from Lakers fans.
Rondo was crucial for the Lakers during their 2020 NBA championship run. He was the best player for the Lakers, after LeBron James and Anthony Davis, during their playoff run. Rondo showed the world why he earned the nickname 'playoff Rondo'; because he stepped up big time during the postseason.