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Clippers' Tyronn Lue Says 'Fiery' Rajon Rondo 'Just What We Need'

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMarch 26, 2021

Atlanta Hawks guard Rajon Rondo (7) sets up a play during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Orlando Magic, Wednesday, March 3, 2021, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

Los Angeles Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue believes point guard Rajon Rondo was a perfect addition ahead of the NBA trade deadline on Thursday.

Lue, who called Rondo "pretty much my project" while he served as an assistant coach with the Boston Celtics from 2011 through 2013, said he'll use what he learned during their previous time together upon their reunion in L.A. after the guard was acquired from the Atlanta Hawks.

"He's fiery, that's what we need," Lue told reporters. "He's tough. He understands the game. And he respects people as a straight shooter and will tell him the truth. That was my biggest thing in Boston, was just being honest with him and telling him the truth and keeping it real with him."

The Clippers traded Lou Williams, a three-time NBA Sixth Man of the Year, a pair of future second-round draft picks and cash to the Hawks for Rondo.

Lue, who said he missed Williams' presence off the bench in Thursday's 98-85 win over the San Antonio Spurs, explained he's not sure what role Rondo will fill once the team is back to full strength.

"We've got to get everybody together, get everyone healthy," he said. "Just trying to see what works. It's going to take some time. Just not sure right now."

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Kawhi Leonard, Patrick Beverley, Serge Ibaka and Marcus Morris are among the Clippers who have recently missed time because of injuries.

L.A. could start Rondo, utilizing him as a pass-first point guard alongside Leonard and Paul George and then bring Beverley and Reggie Jackson off the bench together for an offensive boost to the second unit, which would help mitigate the departure of Williams.

"We could not be more excited to welcome Rajon to the Clippers," president of basketball operations Lawrence Frank said. "He is a proven winner, a relentless competitor and one of the most skilled orchestrators of his era. We believe he will elevate our group and continue to propel us forward."

Los Angeles sits third in the Western Conference with a 30-16 record and is amid a four-game winning streak. Its success gives Lue and his staff a little flexibility to tinker with the lineup once everybody is healthy until something clicks.

Rondo, who won his second NBA title with the rival Los Angeles Lakers last season, owns 121 games of postseason experience and should be a valuable asset for the Clippers regardless of his role come playoff time.

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