The legendary point guard wasn’t performing particularly well this year – averaging 3.1 points, 2.7 rebounds, and 3.7 assists in just 16.1 minutes per game.
Perhaps more shockingly, his three-point percentage had dipped down to 26.7 percent.
So the team decided to send him packing, sending him to the Cleveland Cavaliers as part of a three-team deal involving the Cavs and New York Knicks.
The #Lakers announce the completion of a three-team trade that will send Rajon Rondo to the Cavs.
— Spectrum SportsNet (@SpectrumSN) January 3, 2022
But will LA end up missing Rondo in the end?
There is one major reason why the team might regret this trade in just a few months.
Why They Traded Him
Like Rondo, the Lakers aren’t performing as they should be.
They need to make some changes and they only have so many opportunities right now with such a crowded roster and so many hefty contracts.
In other words, they need to take the plunge on any trades they can.
The Rondo package allowed the Lakers to open up a roster spot, which will come in handy in the weeks and months ahead as the team attempts to add some new players and tweak its lineup.
Additionally, the team is currently guard-heavy and Rondo was spending most of his time on the bench.
With Rondo, the team had an aged guard who wasn’t playing like he used to – it only made sense to cut him loose.
Why They’ll Miss Him
In just a few short months, the Lakers might be in the playoffs.
That’s actually debatable based upon the season so far but all signs point to them playing in the postseason.
And if that comes to pass, the team might end up missing Rondo.
That’s because the four-time All-Star has an alter ego that many Boston Celtics and Lakers fans love: Playoff Rondo.
Rondo has repeatedly stepped it up in the postseason for the various teams he’s been on.
His career averages are 9.8 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 8.0 assists a game – during the playoffs, his averages are 12.5 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 8.5 assists a game.
Additionally, his rebounding game is taken up a notch when the playoffs begin.
So is his free-throw percentage and three-point percentage too.
The cause of Playoff Rondo isn’t known but it has to do with his experience in the league and his familiarity with playing in the postseason.
Playoff Rondo on 5 consecutive possessions pic.twitter.com/5kjqjwZADA
— pickuphoop (@pickuphoop) September 25, 2020
Those are two things the Lakers will need when they get into the playoffs.
While there will be guys to take their places in those moments, there’s no doubt that the team would have greatly benefitted from a little bit of Playoff Rondo action.
Plus, Rondo’s career has had a series of highs and lows and ups and downs.
Therefore, while Rondo isn’t playing particularly well right now, there is a chance he could rebound and once again be playing like a marvel.
It’s understandable why the Lakers made the move they did and hopefully, it leads to success but by cutting Rondo loose, they might have just lost a pivotal part of their playoff success.