Sacramento Kings point guard Rajon Rondo is set to become a free agent in the offseason. Naturally, rumors about where the four-time All-Star will play in 2016-17 are already circulating.
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Rondo Is Reportedly Open-Minded About Knicks
Monday, Feb. 15
Although former New York Knicks head coach Derek Fisher did not hold back on his criticism of Rondo, Marc Berman of the New York Post noted an NBA source confirmed that "the Kings point guard will still 'keep an open mind' regarding the Knicks this July when he becomes a free agent.”
Berman shared Fisher’s comments and added some context in a separate piece:
When asked by a reporter before Sunday’s game about Rondo’s remark and whether it concerns him to hear that from an elite player, Fisher said, "That’s your decision on whether or not he’s elite or not. You can’t ask him when he wasn’t very successful playing against it whether or not he wants to play in it. That’s his opinion. That’s fine. He doesn’t play for us. We’re not concerned about his opinion about us at this point."
Fisher was responding to Rondo’s suggestion that “the triangle is not really a good look for me, I don’t think,” per Berman.
The Knicks fired Fisher on Feb. 8, which means Rondo no longer has to worry about what the former Los Angeles Lakers point guard thinks of him. Berman pointed out that a source said Knicks president Phil Jackson “likes Rondo’s skill set a lot and feels he can mesh him into any system, triangle or no triangle.”
The talented point guard won the 2007-08 NBA title with the Boston Celtics. While he struggled last season with the Dallas Mavericks and posted his lowest assist mark since his second season in the league, he has demonstrated consistent improvement across the board for the Kings in 2015-16, per ESPN.com:
|Rajon Rondo's Improvement from Dallas to Sacramento|
|Season||Games||Minutes||Field-Goal Percentage||Three-Point Percentage||Points||Assists||Rebounds||Steals|
|2014-15 (with Dallas)||46||28.7||43.6||35.2||9.3||6.5||4.5||1.2|
Rondo clashed with head coach Rick Carlisle in Dallas, which may have limited his effectiveness on the floor.
In all, Rondo has averaged at least 9.8 assists per game every year since the 2009-10 campaign, except last season, and is still one of the best floor generals in the league at 29 years old (he will turn 30 on Feb. 22). His 11.9 assists per game rank first in the NBA at the All-Star break, and he is consistently looking to set up his teammates.
Rondo is also a solid defender who is a four-time member of the NBA All-Defensive Team. He led the league in steals per game in 2009-10 with 2.3 and total steals with 189, and he is holding opponents to 0.7 percent worse shooting from behind the three-point line and 1.3 percent worse shooting from beyond 15 feet than their normal averages this season, per NBA.com.
As for the Knicks, they have a building block in the 20-year-old Kristaps Porzingis, one of the best pure scorers in the league in Carmelo Anthony (25 points per game in his career) and a solid outside shooter in Arron Afflalo (38.4 percent three-point shooter in his career).
However, the 34-year-old Jose Calderon is playing 27.6 minutes per game (fourth on the team behind those three) as the primary point guard. Even with Anthony and Porzingis, Calderon is averaging a career-low 4.1 assists per game and has not been the type of playmaker who can lead this group into playoff contention in the Eastern Conference.
Adding a rejuvenated Rondo to a squad that wouldn’t rely on him to score could give New York an opportunity to reach the postseason for the first time since the 2012-13 season.
He wouldn’t be intimidated by the Big Apple lights or Madison Square Garden as someone with championship experience, and his pass-first approach would mesh with Anthony’s attacking style of offense.
That combination may be enough to overcome even Rondo’s own doubts about his ability to fit inside the triangle offense.