Rajon Rondo re-signs with Lakers for another title push

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Rajon Rondo has re-signed with the Los Angeles Lakers to pursue another championship ring.

The Lakers announced the deal Tuesday to bring back Rondo on a one-year contract. The veteran point guard played an important role as a reserve and a team leader on Los Angeles’ 17th NBA championship team during the 2019-20 season, his second with the Lakers.

The 35-year-old Rondo agreed to a buyout with Memphis last Saturday and quickly rejoined a title contender. Rondo signed with Atlanta as a free agent last November shortly after winning a ring with the Lakers, and he was traded to the Clippers last March ahead of their run to the Western Conference finals.

The Clippers traded Rondo to the Grizzlies two weeks ago along with Patrick Beverley in the deal sending Eric Bledsoe back to LA.

Rondo is a two-time champion and a four-time All-Star during a 16-year NBA career that began in Boston in 2006. While he is expected to move on to a coaching career when he is done playing, the Lakers are still confident Rondo can contribute on the court.

He was a role player for the Lakers during the coronavirus-interrupted regular season in 2020, but his responsibilities increased sharply in the postseason. He averaged 8.9 points and 6.6 assists per game while hitting 40% of his 3-pointers in the Florida bubble.

The Lakers have a roster stacked with 30-something veterans around LeBron James and Anthony Davis heading into the new season. Los Angeles acquired former league MVP Russell Westbrook in a trade with Washington to join Carmelo Anthony, Trevor Ariza, Kent Bazemore, Wayne Ellington, Dwight Howard and returnee Marc Gasol.

Rondo, Howard, Ariza, Ellington and Bazemore are all former Lakers returning to the team. The Lakers also could still re-sign 34-year-old wing Wesley Matthews.

Few NBA players can surpass Rondo’s playoff experience. He has appeared in 134 postseason games for six franchises, and he is averaging 12.5 points, 5.6 rebounds, 8.5 assists and 1.7 steals while playing 34 minutes per game.

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