Lakers: Cavaliers Closing In On Rajon Rondo Trade
The Cleveland Cavaliers have had a rough go of it lately.
The 20-14 club has been enjoying its first season as a real playoff contender since LeBron James abandoned the Cavs for the Los Angeles Lakers in the summer of 2018, largely thanks to the play of rising young stars Darius Garland, Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen. Unfortunately, season-ending knee injuries to two point guards have greatly hampered Cleveland's depth in that department. First, Collin Sexton tore his meniscus in his left knee and went under the knife for a season-ending surgery in November. Earlier this week, it was announced that reserve-turned-starter Ricky Rubio tore his left ACL and will also miss the remainder of the 2021-22 season.
The success of Cleveland had one of the year's feel-good stories, and certainly the team seems like it will try to keep the good times rolling by hook or by crook. The team is currently the fifth seed in the East, two games ahead of the 18-16 Philadelphia 76ers, who have their own point guard availability problems.
In the long term, it may make sense for the Cavaliers to consider a fairly drastic trade, something along the lines of moving Sexton and/or intriguing wing Isaac Okoro, along with a player on a fairly large but movable contract like $67.5 million forward Lauri Markkanen, for an established high-level starting point guard. But in the immediate future, it appears that Cleveland might actually be looking to the Lakers for point guard reinforcements, as Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium reports:
Incredibly, after veteran point guard Rajon Rondo has fallen out of the Lakers' rotation, a genuine playoff contender is interested in his services. Cleveland of course is desperate for reinforcements, and Rondo remains a high-level ball handler and at least a passable outside shooter, though if head coach J.B. Bickerstaff and GM Koby Altman think Rondo at this point in his career will be able to supply even a small percentage of Rubio's defensive skills they're in for a rude awakening.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN adds in a longer piece that trade discussions could conclude as soon as tomorrow. Woj notes that, because Rondo has been signed to a veteran's minimum contract, LA would not have to receive another player in return. LA could use the deal to take back a future asset or a player on a non-guaranteed contract whom they could then release.
In his 16th NBA season, the 35-year-old two-time champ is averaging a career-low 3.1 points a game in just 18 contests (he has also logged almost as many DNP-CDs), along with 3.7 rebounds and 2.7 assists.