The Memphis Grizzlies have agreed to buyout the remainder of Rajon Rondo’s contract and will clear waivers on Monday. Rondo landed in Memphis through a trade sending him, Daniel Oturu, and Patrick Beverley from the Clippers for Eric Bledsoe. That trade from the Grizzlies’ perspective is seemingly designed to give them more cap space for when Ja Morant is eligible for a contract extension in the summer of 2020.
Rondo progressed all the way up to the Western Conference Finals with the LA from a midseason trade out of Atlanta and played in 13 playoff games. The 4-time All-Star collected $15M with the Hawks and is back on the free-agency wall. The 6’1″ guard appeared in 45 total games last campaign, racking up averages of 5.4 points, 4.4 assists, and 2.3 rebounds.
According to Shams Charania, the Los Angeles Lakers are the clear frontrunners to sign the journeyman. If he returns to the coveted franchise, Rondo would be the fourth player the Grizzlies have waived that immediately joined the Lakers along with Avery Bradley, Dwight Howard, and Dion Waters. Rondo added the 2019-2020 Lakers championship to his collection and outperformed the doubters in that postseason. The veteran was a sensational leader and key complement to the stars built around him and a return seems like a natural fit. He gives LA reliable scoring, incredible playmaking, and sneaky defense off the sidelines. Rondo joins a crowded backcourt featuring Russell Westbrook, Malik Monk, Kendrick Nunn, Kent Bazemore, Wayne Ellington and Talent Horton-Tucker.
Rondo, 35, could become the 6th oldest player on the Lakers roster with Russell Westbrook the 8th oldest. At this stage of his career, he’ll rejoin with some familiar faces that get a playoff contender over the hump. Rondo uniting in the purple and gold would leave two available roster spots and one reportedly open for the buyout market.