Rajon Rondo finds himself on his fourth team in the space of a year, just one season removed from winning a championship with the Los Angeles Lakers.
The 35-year-old was traded to the Memphis Grizzlies in a deal that saw Eric Bledsoe head the other way, getting Rondo's $8 million salary off the books while bringing back 31-year-old Bledsoe, who will give the LA Clippers some much-needed help in the backcourt.
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Rondo's tenure with the Clippers didn't exactly yield the return they hoped as he averaged just 4.2 points and 3.8 assists in 16.9 minutes across 13 playoff games, falling out of the rotation in the Western Conference Finals and now as he finds himself on a young Grizzlies team, his future with his new squad already appears up in the air.
In a crowded backcourt featuring Ja Morant and Tyus Jones and plenty of options at shooting guard, Rondo's arrival in Memphis makes sense as a veteran mentor for the young guards, but as reported by Drew Hill of the Daily Memphian, the roster logjam could see Rondo elsewhere by the time opening night arrives. At this point of his career, making his way onto a contending team makes sense.
The Grizzlies currently have 19 players on the roster and will need to get that down to 15 by opening night, making Rondo a strong candidate for a buyout, with his salary making the search for a suitable trade partner difficult.
"There are simply too many players for a 15-man roster, and Memphis added two more following the trade that sent Patrick Beverley to Minnesota. The Grizzlies will have to find a way to get players off the roster, potentially by buying players out, trading or waiving them.
Will Rajon Rondo be part of the team at the season's beginning? Probably not. What about Sam Merrill? Seems unlikely."
The legend of 'Playoff Rondo' didn't quite get off the ground with the Clippers, but he will no doubt have plenty of suitors contending for a title in the event he does get a buyout from Memphis.
Los Angeles Lakers
Los Angeles already brought back former Lakers Dwight Howard, Trevor Ariza, Kent Bazemore and Wayne Ellington in free agency, so the idea of running it back with Rondo isn't far-fetched.
They currently only have 14 players on the roster and according to Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes, a third point guard is a priority, having recently worked out Isaiah Thomas, Darren Collison and Mike James.
Rondo proved to be a valuable contributor in their run to the 2020 championship, averaging 8.9 points and 6.6 assists in the postseason and while his role on this version of the Lakers will likely be smaller, behind Russell Westbrook and Kendrick Nunn, bringing his championship experience to an already veteran team fits the bill.
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Golden State Warriors
The Warriors are already deep into the luxury tax with $139 million tied up in Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Andrew Wiggins, so any improvements to the roster will have to have an element of savvy, making a Rondo buyout an attractive option.
Outside of Curry, the Warriors' point guard department could certainly use some upgrading with Jordan Poole, Chris Chiozza (two-way) and Gary Payton II (non-guaranteed) in the mix to back up the two-time MVP.
Bringing in a high IQ player like Rondo to run the offence when Curry is off the floor would be of obvious benefit, not to mention the impact he could have on young big man James Wiseman.
The Miami Heat are all in on win-now mode after acquiring Kyle Lowry, P.J. Tucker and Markieff Morris in the off-season and when you think of the much-lauded 'Heat Culture', Rondo is the type of player that certainly wouldn't be out of place.
While Jimmy Butler can handle the ball, the Heat are light in the point guard department after losing Goran Dragic and Kendrick Nunn, with Gabe Vincent likely to take the backup minutes behind Lowry.
At this point in his career, I don't think the Heat would expect much from Rondo during the regular season, but if Playoff Rondo is still capable of manipulating postseason games as we saw him do in 2019-20, the Heat are an intriguing option.
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