The Los Angeles Lakers traded Rajon Rondo to the Cleveland Cavaliers midway through last season.
Understandably, most figured that he would provide his standard brand of strong, reliable veteran leadership to a very young group as he has throughout his storied NBA career.
Apparently, that didn’t happen.
This week, it emerged that the Cavaliers were unlikely to welcome Rondo back in 2022-23.
According to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com, Cleveland brass views Rondo as a key reason for star guard Darius Garland’s late-season regression.
“Rondo was expected to help fill the on-court void and bring some much-needed stability to the second unit,” Fedor wrote.
“But he played in just 21 of a possible 45 games because of a sprained toe followed by an ankle sprain. One member of the organization pointed to Rondo’s slower-than-expected recovery as a reason why All-Star guard Darius Garland was physically and mentally drained by the end of the season.”
Because of that, the Cavs are moving on.
“For the second consecutive offseason, Cleveland’s front office will prioritize the addition of a competent backup point guard — either in the draft, free agency or trade,” Fedor added.
“President of basketball operations Koby Altman spoke about the importance of keeping some quality veterans around the budding young core. Even though there was some early chatter about the possibility of Rondo being a fit and [Darius] Garland recently spoke about Rondo’s helpful mentorship, multiple sources tell cleveland.com the chances of Rondo re-signing were always slim because of his age, inconsistent play and lack of availability down the stretch.”
Justin Verlander responded immediately. https://t.co/Dw0kOhMYW7
— Game 7 (@game7__) May 19, 2022
What helps matters, undoubtedly, is that there is one veteran point guard available who the front office knows will work well with the presently-constructed roster.
Time will tell what direction the Cavaliers ultimately go in when it comes to backup point guard, but at this point – it’s safe to say Rondo will be playing elsewhere come 2022-23.