Lakers Rumors: Rajon Rondo Traded to Cavaliers for Denzel Valentine

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVDecember 31, 2021

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 23: Rajon Rondo of the Los Angeles Lakers warms up before the game against the New York Knicks  at Madison Square Garden on November 23, 2021 in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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Rajon Rondo is headed to yet another team.

The Los Angeles Lakers reportedly traded Rondo to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday, per Shams Charania of Stadium and The Athletic.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported Los Angeles would receive Denzel Valentine in return and then waive the shooting guard, who averaged 2.9 points per game in 9.3 minutes over 22 games (no starts) this season. 

Charania reported on Thursday that the Cavaliers were in "serious talks" to land the point guard after Ricky Rubio suffered a season-ending ACL tear.

Los Angeles just signed Rondo this past offseason after he spent the 2020-21 campaign on the L.A. Clippers and Atlanta Hawks. The veteran point guard also helped lead the Lakers to the championship during the 2019-20 season.

That Rondo was traded is not particularly surprising.

Cleveland could have used more backcourt depth even before the Rubio injury considering Collin Sexton was lost for the campaign following a meniscus tear.

The Cavaliers are playoff contenders in the Eastern Conference, so the connections to a veteran leader with championship experience made sense. However, that also made him someone who was potentially intriguing for a number of other contenders.

Rondo is no longer the player he was in his prime for the Boston Celtics, but his resume includes two NBA championships, four All-Star selections and four All-Defensive selections. At his best, he was a double-double threat who could get out in transition, score at the rim and facilitate for teammates either on the break or on kickouts in half-court sets after he drew multiple defenders with drives.

He has laced it up for the Celtics, Dallas Mavericks, Sacramento Kings, Chicago Bulls, New Orleans Pelicans, Lakers, Hawks, Clippers and Lakers again this season.

The University of Kentucky product was a rotational player at best for the Purple and Gold this season at this point of his career. He averaged 3.1 points, 2.7 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 0.7 steals in 16.1 minutes a night across 18 games.

While Rondo is no longer the dominant force he was on the Celtics at 35 years old, he probably brings more to the table than he did for the Lakers this season.

If he can tap into some of his playmaking abilities to help the Cavaliers reach the playoffs, he figures to be a part of their postseason rotation given his track record as a championship-level player.

Cleveland is a young team with building blocks such as Darius Garland and Evan Mobley and should be primed to compete for playoff spots for the foreseeable future. Its last postseason appearance came during the 2017-18 campaign with LeBron James leading the way during four straight NBA Finals appearances.

While the franchise's ceiling is not there this season, it at least has someone with championship experience to address the backcourt depth problems.