The 16-year veteran plans to return to the Lakers one season after leaving Los Angeles in free agency last summer.
Rondo found himself squeezed off the full Grizzlies roster two weeks after the trade that brought him to Memphis from the Los Angeles Clippers along with Patrick Beverley and Daniel Oturu for Eric Bledsoe.
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) August 28, 2021
A Rondo buyout seemed inevitable following the Bledsoe trade considering not only his age, but also the state of Memphis’ roster.
Now, Rondo rejoins a Lakers squad he helped win a championship with in 2020.
Rondo Provides Depth
Rondo’s days as a ball-dominant All-Star are long gone.
The 35-year-old guard evolved into a journeyman during the second half of his career, but his one notable post-Celtics stop was with the Lakers.
During his first run with Los Angeles, Rondo played passably well during the regular season.
But once the Lakers landed in the Orlando bubble in 2020, Rondo elevated his play.
Over the final 16 playoff games that season, Rondo averaged 8.9 points and 6.6 assists per game.
He made 40 percent of his three-point attempts during that run as well.
Now, Rondo fills a clear need at backup point guard after Los Angeles reshaped the roster this offseason.
The Lakers traded nearly a third of their rotation to acquire Russell Westbrook and have since complemented their All-NBA trio with capable, if aging, veterans.
Considering the ages of these players, depth remains a priority for the Lakers.
Not all of these players will be available for every game, so Rondo helps mitigate some of those rest days.
LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Marc Gasol, Dwight Howard, Russell Westbrook and Rajon Rondo were all All-Stars in 2012, the season before Anthony Davis came to the NBA.
Now they are all teammates in Los Angeles. https://t.co/ncxLACF7O5
— Matt Williams (@StatsWilliams) August 30, 2021
Rondo A True Backup Point Guard
The modern NBA has increasingly moved away from traditional positional designations over the years.
And a look at the Lakers roster demonstrates that fact considering its construction.
But the team needed another organizing player for the second-team, because the bench lacked a true backup point guard.
Westbrook, James, and Davis will handle the majority of playmaking responsibilities.
And it’s unlikely head coach Frank Vogel will deploy lineups without at least one of those three on the floor.
But beyond Westbrook or James, the Lakers lacked a primary ball-handler capable of getting the team into its offense.
Monk remains a spot-up shooter and Nunn has always been a score-first guard.
These two, and even Westbrook to a certain extent, prioritize scoring above facilitating for their teammates.
Over his career, Nunn averages 3.0 assists per game in 123 appearances.
He’s not a point guard, despite his 6-foot-3 size, and was never the primary playmaker during his time with the Miami Heat.
Monk, meanwhile, posts just 1.8 assists per game over his 233 career contests.
So the addition of Rondo deepens the Lakers’ guard rotation by adding a tried and true facilitator to the mix.