Report: Lonzo Ball 'Not Running' from Lakers PG Position Battle with Rajon Rondo

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistJuly 2, 2018

NEW ORLEANS, LA - MARCH 22: Rajon Rondo #9 of the New Orleans Pelicans shoots against Lonzo Ball #2 of the Los Angeles Lakers during the first half at the Smoothie King Center on March 22, 2018 in New Orleans, Louisiana. 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 Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers agreed to sign veteran point guard Rajon Rondo to a one-year, $9 million deal Monday, per Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports. But Lonzo Ball isn't sweating his newfound competition at the position.

According to Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times: "Rondo has been told it'll be an open competition at starting point guard. One source close to Ball tells me: 'Zo's not running from the competition.'"

After being the No. 2 overall pick in the 2017 NBA draft, Ball will be the front-runner to win the starting job over Rondo. The former UCLA star had an interesting rookie season, impressing with a stat line of 10.2 points, 7.2 assists and 6.9 rebounds per game. His shooting was a major disappointment, however, as Ball shot just 36.0 percent from the field, 30.5 percent from three and 45.1 percent from the charity stripe. 

Improving his jumper will be the key for Ball to fit seamlessly next to James. The rest of his game actually should work in conjunction with the NBA's best player. While Ball's tremendous vision and passing make him a dynamic playmaker on the break, his struggles beating opponents off the dribble have always made him less dynamic as a ball-dominant player in the half court. 

Instead, Ball works well in a motion offense, cutting to the basket or running around screens for open jumpers. It's easy to imagine Ball running the show in transition and James taking over in the half court, though Ball's shooting has to improve dramatically for the fit to truly work. 

Rondo, on the other hand, is a more traditionally ball-dominant point guard who can get penetration but has never had a quality jumper. Any question marks about his fit next to James are far more legitimate. It wouldn't be surprising if the 32-year-old was brought aboard to offer the team a veteran option off the bench to both mentor Ball and push him next season. 

Jordan Schultz @Schultz_Report

I’m a proponent of this deal for LA. Rondo had a terrific year and “Playoff Rondo” will be a boon for #LeBron. Remember too, that the #Lakers wanted to sign him last summer as well. https://t.co/mmCSThoNf0

Ohm Youngmisuk @NotoriousOHM

LeBron has to respect Rondo's basketball IQ. When engaged, Rondo as good a triple-double threat as any. And what better example for Lonzo to watch on floor when at his best, engaged and unselfish than Rondo https://t.co/mSjnoUBVWh

The other possibility, of course, is that the Lakers are in the trade market for another star this offseason—Kawhi Leonard being the presumptive target—and could use Ball in the package to land that player. In that scenario, Rondo is a contingency plan for Ball.

Ball may fend off Rondo for the starting job and receive the majority of the minutes at the point next season. But there remains a strong chance he's hooping for another team come the start of the regular season, too.