Lakers Rumors: Latest Buzz on Rajon Rondo, Grant Riller, NBA Draft Plans

Jake RillSenior Writer IOctober 29, 2020

Los Angeles Lakers guard Rajon Rondo (9) signals to the offense during the second half an NBA conference final playoff basketball game against the Denver Nuggets on Friday, Sept. 18, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

It could end up being a battle between the two Los Angeles teams to land veteran point guard Rajon Rondo this offseason.

According to Marc Stein of the New York Times, the Clippers are interested in signing the 34-year-old, who is expected to decline his $2.7 million player option with the Lakers for 2020-21 when free agency begins next month. But the Lakers may also make a push to try to convince him to return next season.

"The Lakers are naturally determined to re-sign Rondo, who played a huge role in their playoff run, but the Clippers are eager to upgrade at point guard," Stein tweeted.

Rondo spent the past two seasons with the Lakers, but some of his best showings came during this past postseason as the team made its run to the NBA title. He averaged 8.9 points, 6.6 assists, 4.3 rebounds and 1.4 steals in 16 games coming off the bench.

In the Lakers' championship-clinching NBA Finals Game 6 win over the Miami Heat, Rondo had 19 points and four assists in 30 minutes. If that ends up being his final game for the team, it was an impressive way to go out.

But it also makes sense that the Lakers want to push to bring Rondo back, as he provides a veteran presence on the bench and is still a solid contributor at this point in his career. Over 14 NBA seasons, he's a two-time NBA champion, a four-time All-Star and a former All-NBA selection.

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The Clippers could be an enticing option for Rondo, though. Their new head coach, Tyronn Lue, was an assistant with the Boston Celtics from 2011-13 when Rondo was on the team, so they have history. Plus, the Clippers are also a top team in the Western Conference and could potentially give Rondo a chance to compete for another NBA title.

As it stands, it seems likely Rondo will be staying in L.A., but he may have to pick between the rival teams. 


Latest on Lakers' NBA Draft Plans

Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

When the 2020 NBA draft finally takes place on Nov. 18, the Lakers have the No. 28 pick. Many of the top prospects will be off the board at that time, so Los Angeles could either take a lower-tier player or potentially move the pick.

According to Cody Taylor of Rookie Wire, there's a belief that the Lakers "will look to use their draft pick to acquire a veteran player that can contribute now." That could make sense, considering Los Angeles remains in win-now mode after claiming the NBA title this past season.

However, if the Lakers end up using the pick, who might they consider taking? One name to watch could be Charleston guard Grant Riller, according to Bryan Kalbrosky of Rookie Wire.

"According to someone with knowledge of the situation who spoke to USA TODAY Sports Media Group on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter, someone to monitor if they do use the pick is Charleston's Grant Riller considering he is one of the most pro-ready plug-and-play prospects as a scorer in the backcourt," Kalbrosky wrote.

Riller spent four seasons at Charleston, playing 132 career games and averaging at least 13.1 points per game each year. He averaged 21.9 points in each of his last two seasons.

A 6'3" guard, the 23-year-old Riller could be a valuable addition to the Lakers' rotation if his scoring ability translates to the next level. He has talent, but he also didn't face much tough competition in college.