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#pounditFriday, February 26, 2021

Rajon Rondo

Clippers, Hawks expected to pursue Rajon Rondo in free agency

Rajon Rondo

Rajon Rondo is expected to decline his player option for next season and become a free agent, and he will likely have plenty of interest.

Rondo signed a two-year deal with the Los Angeles Lakers last year and can opt in to his second year for $2.6 million. But he may feel he can earn more money on the open market and be motivated to test things out.

The Los Angeles Times’ Brad Turner reports that the Clippers and Atlanta Hawks are among the teams that will have interest in him.

Rondo, 34, had a limited role during the regular season and suffered a thumb injury during the restart. But he was a valuable contributor during the playoffs and helped them win the championship. He averaged 8.9 points, 6.6 assists, and 1.4 steals in 24.7 minutes per game during the postseason.

Rondo has long been expected to opt out of his contract. And this is not the first time the Clippers have been mentioned in connection with him.

The LeBron Effect: How LeBron James impacted his Lakers teammates

LeBron James

Given the monumental impact that star players have in the NBA, the simple fact that basketball is a team game can often get overlooked. One of the defining tests of NBA superstardom is a player’s ability to positively influence his teammates’ play. Stars can improve a teammate’s play through not only their own play, but also their presence; the greatest players of all-time carry an aura with them that embodies winning.

Four-time NBA champion and Finals MVP LeBron James has illustrated this aura throughout the entirety of his 17-year career. James has the power to thrust his teammates into an unfamiliar position — directly in the spotlight.

If these players deliver when they are called upon, their legacies are cemented next to role players like Steve Kerr, whose famous 1997 Finals-winning shot lives on eternally in the Role Player Hall of Fame. Failure to deliver, however, means a player will be exposed to a level of scrutiny unlike ever before. This phenomenon experienced by James’ teammates can be known as the “LeBron Effect.”

James’ impact on his teammates is so profound that his influence was felt not just by younger players, but also by accomplished veterans like Dwight Howard and Rajon Rondo over last season.

Here is a look at how James impacted the play of his teammates last season.

(more…)

Report: Clippers to pursue Rajon Rondo in free agency

Rajon Rondo

The Los Angeles Clippers are in the market for help at the point guard position this offseason, and Rajon Rondo is a name that could be high on their list.

The Clippers are expected to pursue Rondo when free agency begins next month, Marc Stein of the New York Times reports. The Los Angeles Lakers want to keep Rondo, but he is expected to decline his $2.7 million player option and shop his services.

Rondo played a significant role for the Lakers in the postseason. He averaged more minutes per game during the playoffs than he did in the regular season and averaged 8.7 points, 5.5 assists and 5.2 rebounds per game against the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals. You can understand why the Lakers don’t want to let him leave.

The Clippers, however, could be aggressive in their pursuit of Rondo. Kawhi Leonard is reportedly pushing for the team to add a difference-maker at point guard, and Rondo could fill that role.

Rondo, 34, has extensive postseason experience, which is undoubtedly one of the main reasons the Clippers want him. Perhaps he could help solve some of the chemistry issues they struggled with after the season resumed in Orlando.

Rajon Rondo almost retired after ill-fated stint with Mavericks

Rajon Rondo

Rajon Rondo is now an NBA champion once again. He almost retired before he even got the chance however.

This week on the “The Full 48” podcast, ESPN’s Rachel Nichols revealed Rondo nearly retired after his disastrous stint with the Dallas Mavericks.

“He told me he almost retired a few years ago,” she said, per Silver Screen & Roll. “Because when the catastrophe in Dallas happened between him and Rick Carlisle —and we can assign all kinds of blame for that— he said only two teams called him that offseason. He was sort of thinking, ‘Well maybe I just don’t want to do this anymore.’ He could have been out of basketball.”

Rondo was traded by the Boston Celtics to the Mavs in the 2014-15 season. It was a catastrophic tenure where he openly clashed with head coach Carlisle, including disputes over extremely petty issues. Rondo did not return to Dallas after the season and was even denied a playoff share.

The four-time All-Star ultimately did not retire though. He slowly rebuilt his value over stints with Sacramento, Chicago, and New Orleans. Now Rondo has made it back to the top of the NBA mountain with the Los Angeles Lakers, and it is safe to say it was a long journey for him to get there.

Josh Hart trying to recruit Rajon Rondo back to New Orleans?

Josh Hart

The merry-go-round between the New Orleans Pelicans and the Los Angeles Lakers could be continuing this offseason.

Reports emerged this week that Lakers guard Rajon Rondo is expected to opt out of his $2.7 million player option for next season. Pelicans guard Josh Hart responded by tweeting that he would love to play with Rondo again.

Hart and Rondo were never on the Pelicans at the same time. However, they were teammates on the Lakers in 2018-19 before Hart was traded to New Orleans as part of the Anthony Davis package. Adding another layer is the fact that Rondo’s previous team before the Lakers was the Pelicans. He played for them in the 2017-18 season.

New Orleans recently fired head coach Alvin Gentry and now have almost an entirely new roster. Still, Rondo is always widely praised as a teammate, and it is obvious why Hart would love to have him back in New Orleans.

Report: Rajon Rondo expected to opt out of contract with Lakers

Rajon Rondo

One of the biggest challenges for a team after winning a championship is the ability to repeat. Once players start leaving the team and signing elsewhere, the chances of a repeat decrease. Rajon Rondo may be giving the Los Angeles Lakers their first tough decision.

Rondo, 34, has a $2.69 million player option for next season but is expected to opt out, according to Basketball News’ Chris Sheridan.

Rondo made $2.56 million this season. He only played in 48 games during the regular season and averaged 7.1 points and 5.0 assists in 20.5 minutes per game. He had a larger role in the postseason, averaging 8.9 points, 6.6 assists, and 1.4 steals in 24.7 minutes per game.

The Lakers have five players with options for next season. In addition to Rondo, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Avery Bradley and JaVale McGee have contract options. And then they have their biggest question to answer with the other player who has an option.

The Lakers on Sunday night beat the Miami Heat in Game 6 of the NBA Finals to win their 17th championship in franchise history.

Lakers fans, show everyone who runs LA with this great T-shirt. It makes a perfect gift for you or a friend. You can buy it here.

Frank Vogel does not like ‘Playoff’ Rajon Rondo nickname

Frank Vogel

“Playoff Rondo” has arisen once again this postseason, but Los Angeles Lakers coach Frank Vogel thinks that the nickname is a bit disrespectful.

Vogel told reporters on Sunday that he is not a fan of Rajon Rondo being called “Playoff Rondo” for his seemingly elevated play in the playoffs.

“It implies he’s not good in the regular season,” said Vogel, per Harrison Faigen of Silver Screen & Roll. “But he’s been good for us all year.”

Vogel also noted that elite players always raise their games in the playoffs. He added that Rondo watches as much if not more film than many coaches.

The ex-All-Star Rondo has long had a reputation for rising to the occasion in crucial games. It is especially so if he is playing in the playoffs or on national TV. His overall play in the regular season is often underwhelming however.

This year, Rondo averaged 7.1 points and 5.0 assists a game on 32.8 percent from deep during the season. Those numbers have risen to 9.5 points and 7.2 assists per game on 44.7 percent from deep in the playoffs. Vogel may just be standing up for his guy though, as even Rondo hates the nickname.

Video: Rajon Rondo had great reaction to Anthony Davis’ winning shot

Rajon Rondo

Rajon Rondo got the assist on the biggest shot of Game 2 on Sunday night, and he had a great reaction to the play, too.

The Los Angeles Lakers beat the Denver Nuggets 105-103 on Anthony Davis’ great shot at the buzzer (seen here). The win gave the Lakers a 2-0 series lead in the Western Conference Finals.

After Davis made the shot, he and the Lakers celebrated the win. Rondo did not. Take a look at him.

Did the Lakers even win the game? You wouldn’t have been able to tell based on Rondo’s reaction. That’s the response of a man who knew the shot was going in before the play. That’s the response of a man who knows his team is going to win the championship.

Game 3 between the teams will be on Tuesday.

Rajon Rondo’s brother William may be temporarily barred from attending games

Rajon Rondo

William Rondo’s verbal altercation with Russell Westbrook may cost him his spot in the stands for the foreseeable future.

Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated reported Sunday that William, brother of Los Angeles Lakers guard Rajon Rondo, is expected to miss a couple games due to the incident. Spears added that it is uncertain when he will be allowed to attend again. William is not expected to be kicked out of the Orlando bubble however.

William got ejected from Saturday’s Game 5 between the Lakers and the Houston Rockets after an exchange with Westbrook. The NBA has warned family members granted access to games that they should not engage in any kind of misconduct, verbal or otherwise, with players or referees.

William is also in charge of the barbers, braiders, and manicurists in the bubble. That may have helped his case to stay. Regardless, the Lakers are a title favorite right now. Thus, William may still have plenty more chances to attend games, even with a brief ban.

Video: Rajon Rondo’s brother William ejected after exchange with Russell Westbrook

Russell Westbrook point

Rajon Rondo’s brother William was thrown out of Game 5 between the Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday after an exchange with Russell Westbrook.

William Rondo reportedly was trolling Westbrook by waving in the fourth quarter as the Rockets were on the brink of elimination. Westbrook responded and started talking to Rondo, who later was asked by security to leave.

Westbrook’s Rockets were trailing by over 20 points in the fourth quarter and down 3-1 in the best-of-7 Western Conference semifinals series. His frustration was likely related to having his season about to end.

As for William Rondo, he is part of the NBA Bubble in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. because he has a role as an official barber for the players.

Getting into it with a fan is nothing new for Westbrook, who was involved in a high-profile incident last year.