Rondo is shooting 45.4 percent and averaging 11.9 points and 11.6 assists per game—all personal highs since his stellar campaign in 2012-13 with the Boston Celtics.
Yet a potential return to the slowly improving Kings, who signed him last offseason to a one-year deal, is far from a sure thing. Rondo indicated Friday many factors will play into his decision on where he sets his sights next.
“Coach, personnel and the biggest thing for me is the style of play,” Rondo said when asked what will be his highest premiums on which suitor he signs with, courtesy of Mike Mazzeo of ESPN.com.
The Knicks run a triangle offense that Rondo said is “not a really good look for me,” per Mazzeo. And the Nets are in the midst of a train-wreck season at 12-38, and interim coach Tony Brown has openly admitted to the team’s lack of effort. If Brown doesn’t return, the Nets' next full-time coach—and more importantly, the new scheme employed—will be paramount in trying to lure Rondo.
Yet the ninth-year pro might already be in his most ideal situation in Sacramento.
The Kings are 10th in the Western Conference standings, but their 21-28 mark is a massive improvement from their typical dwelling at the bottom of the West, where the Kings finished no better than the third-worst record the past five seasons.
Rondo admitted that the team’s current contingent makes them an ideal fit, per Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee:
Rondo said the Kings' personnel makes Sac a good fit— Jason Jones (@mr_jasonjones) February 6, 2016
His season of proverbial revival amounts greatly to the cast around him, with the likes of DeMarcus Cousins, Rudy Gay and Ben McLemore that have translated to an uptick in Rondo’s overall performance individually.
Add the Kings’ style of offense that allows Rondo to drive through the paint, and there’s context as to why he’s been successful this season, as shown in the following graphic shared by Matt Moore of CBS Sports:
Rondo finishing at the rim this way is a really big deal, as much so as his 3’s improvement. pic.twitter.com/pAkBxD1lCM— Hardwood Paroxysm (@HPbasketball) February 4, 2016
Rondo won’t play in this year’s All-Star Game despite leading the league in assists, and he probably wants to compete again for a championship soon the way he did during the Celtics’ remarkable runs from 2007-2012.
The Kings may not immediately become a title contender, but they’re taking the early steps toward a playoff berth, whether they reach this year or next. There’s still almost half a season to go before free agency, but at this early stage, a return seems mutually beneficial.