Rajon Rondo was an integral part of the Lakers’ recent championship. His playmaking and ball-handling helped the Lakers win it all. At times, he showed traces of his passing prowess from his All-Star days. At other times, he kept the defense honest with timely jumpers. Rajon Rondo has become a great contributor to a championship team. Rondo got his second championship and has a pretty good case to make the Hall of Fame.
Despite his success, Rondo is a free agent in the coming offseason. Rondo could elect to sign a deal elsewhere and leave the Lakers in search of more playing time, and perhaps a bigger payday. Perhaps he could stay put, and decide to try and win it all again. Regardless, there’s a demand for a player like Rondo: here are the top 5 best free agency destinations for him.
5. Atlanta Hawks
The Atlanta Hawks could be a prime destination for Rondo in terms of financial compensation. Rondo doesn’t have many years left in the league, and his time for a payday would be limited. Perhaps he could sacrifice winning in Los Angeles for a bigger payday in Atlanta. There is no doubt that the Lakers roster will look different next season.
On the Hawks, Rondo could mentor a young up and coming star in Trae Young. He would also have solid lob threats in John Collins and Clint Capela, and a fresh lottery pick in Onyeka Okongwu. The Eastern Conference is weak, so the Hawks could make a push for the 7th or 8th seed. In that case, a playoff proved and a battle-tested veteran like Rondo could show Trae Young what it takes to win at the highest level. Rondo could be a locker room leader, all while getting paid big bucks.
4. Boston Celtics
A return to the Celtics? It’s entirely possible. While Rondo wouldn’t be starting, he would possibly get significant minutes at the backup PG position, similar to his role with the Lakers. Rondo would be able to bring championship culture to the Celtics as he’s won the whole thing before. Rondo in a Celtics uniform again would be a great sight for Celtics fans; he’s a fan favorite as he won alongside the rest of the Celtics in 2008.
If Gordon Hayward leaves (Likely), then the Celtics are going to need a player to fill a spot. Marcus Smart will most likely move into the starting lineup: he was one of the most featured players in the playoffs this year, especially in the Toronto series. Rajon Rondo would then take Smart’s role on the bench. This is an option that seems appealing to both sides, and the Celtics would let Rondo compete while offering a decent contract and a chance to return to another team where he won a championship.
3. Philadelphia 76ers
Rondo being signed while having Ben Simmons seems a little repetitive. Historically, neither could shoot that well, and both play the same playmaking role. However, with Doc Rivers being hired and Daryl Morey in the front office, anything could happen. Morey would build a team around his stars: someone has to weather the storm when the stars aren’t on the court. Enter Rajon Rondo.
Rondo’s shooting has improved this past season with the Lakers: he shot 40% on 3.1 attempts from beyond the arc. Morey loves shooters: while Rondo isn’t the best, this shows that he has been working on shooting and can make shots when it matters. A lot of Morey’s teams had issues in the playoffs: Rondo is known as a playoff performer, even earning the moniker “Playoff Rondo” for his heroics in the postseason. The 76ers could sign Rondo to lead the offense when Ben Simmons sits.
2. Los Angeles Clippers
The Los Angeles Clippers would be an interesting destination for Rajon Rondo. All season they suffered from a lack of playmaking, forcing Kawhi Leonard to both score and create for his teammates. While Leonard is a capable passer, he’s better when he has a point guard who can run the offense, while he focuses on scoring and defending the opponent’s best player. Patrick Beverley brings good defense at the guard position, but not a ton of passing.
Rondo would help the Clippers have that offense-running playmaker that they’ve been missing. Rondo would likely get a lot of minutes which could be a massive appeal for an extremely skilled player. The Clippers can offer good money while being located in Los Angeles. That could appeal to Rondo as he enters the twilight of his career; stability is good for a lot of people. The Clippers would offer Rondo a good amount of perks to come sign with them.
1. Los Angeles Lakers
The Los Angeles Lakers are a prime destination for any veteran. Playing alongside two superstars is a dream come true for most players, and winning a championship is equally as delightful. The Lakers have offered Rondo both. Rondo can run it back and win another championship. During the regular season, being on the Lakers would allow Rondo to conserve energy for the playoffs, letting him pick and choose his spots rather than outright relying on him.
Running it back would be extremely beneficial for Rondo. He could get his 3rd ring while being able to be part of a potential future dynasty. At this point for Rondo, on top of the money and the playing time, it’s the accolades. Dennis Schroder will most likely start for the Lakers, but the 6th Man position is open for the picking. Rondo could potentially win 6MOTY if he focuses on his offense off the bench, and it would further solidify his Hall of Fame bid. The Lakers would be good for Rondo in a lot of ways; sometimes the best move is no change.