Knicks Rumors: Denzel Valentine to Be Waived After Rondo Deal With Lakers, Cavaliers

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 3, 2022

CLEVELAND, OH - DECEMBER 26: Denzel Valentine #45 of the Cleveland Cavaliers shoots the ball during the game against the Toronto Raptors on December 26, 2021 at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in Cleveland, Ohio. 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. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2021 NBAE (Photo by Lauren Bacho/NBAE via Getty Images)
Lauren Bacho/NBAE via Getty Images

The trade that is sending Rajon Rondo to the Cleveland Cavaliers is a three-team deal.

The Los Angeles Lakers confirmed Monday that Cleveland sent Denzel Valentine to the New York Knicks, with Rondo headed to the Cavaliers. In exchange, the Lakers got the draft rights to Louis Labeyrie, and the Knicks received the rights to Brad Newley and Wang Zhelin and cash from L.A.

Marc Stein @TheSteinLine

The Lakers have completed the Rajon Rondo-to-Cleveland trade: <a href="https://t.co/Fqg8CdsJ7b">pic.twitter.com/Fqg8CdsJ7b</a>

Valentine's time with the Knicks will be short-lived, though, as Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium reported New York will waive him.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported New York will get $1.1 million in the trade.

He provided more details:      

Adrian Wojnarowski @wojespn

None of the draft-rights players are expected to play in the NBA, and essentially Knicks pocket $1.1M to jump on today's trade call with the Cavaliers-Lakers in the Rajon Rondo deal. <a href="https://t.co/244ZasxFzk">https://t.co/244ZasxFzk</a>

Adrian Wojnarowski @wojespn

The Knicks saved the Lakers approximately $4M in salary and luxury tax -- and give LA the open roster spot that they wanted with the Rondo deal. Adding Valentine to deal gets his entire salary and tax off LA's books. <a href="https://t.co/g7x5Leb2ui">https://t.co/g7x5Leb2ui</a>

This comes after Wojnarowski reported Friday that the Lakers were "expected to waive Valentine's partially guaranteed deal and create an open roster spot" after they landed him in the trade for Rondo. 

Valentine isn't someone who will take over a game and is averaging just 2.9 points, 1.7 rebounds and 0.5 assists per night this season, but he isn't that far removed from when he posted 10.2 points per game in 2017-18 for the Chicago Bulls.

The Michigan State product didn't have a significant role with the Cavaliers, but perhaps he can find his way onto another roster via free agency and play his way into that team's rotation. 

As for Cleveland, it needed the backcourt depth Rondo provides since Ricky Rubio (ACL) and Collin Sexton (meniscus) are both lost for the season.

Rondo isn't the same player who was selected to four All-Star and four All-Defensive teams in his prime, but he does have two championships on his resume with a history of playoff success. The Cavaliers are 21-16 and primed to make the postseason for the first time in the post-LeBron James era.

If Rondo provides a spark off the bench, veteran leadership and some timely passes to playmakers such as Darius Garland, Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen, he can help the Cavaliers reach the playoffs and perhaps challenge some of the Eastern Conference's top teams when they arrive.