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Lakers Rumors: LA Frontrunners for Rajon Rondo After Grizzlies Contract Buyout

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistAugust 28, 2021

Los Angeles Clippers guard Rajon Rondo (4) brings the ball up court against the Charlotte Hornets during an NBA basketball game in Charlotte, N.C., Thursday, May 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman)
Jacob Kupferman/Associated Press

The Memphis Grizzlies have agreed to buy out the remainder of four-time All-Star point guard Rajon Rondo's contract, per Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium.

According to Charania, the Los Angeles Lakers are the front-runners to sign Rondo, who helped the team win the 2020 NBA Finals.

Memphis acquired Rondo, Patrick Beverley and Daniel Oturu from the Los Angeles Clippers for Eric Bledsoe on Aug. 16.

As noted by ESPN's Kevin Pelton, the Grizzlies' focus seemed to be on getting more cap space for the summer of 2022, when Ja Morant is eligible for a contract extension:

"For the Grizzlies, the logic here seems to come down to turning Bledsoe's $3.9 million guarantee for 2022-23 into expiring salary. Adding $6 million this year shouldn't affect Memphis, because the Grizzlies didn't have meaningful cap space after the trade with New Orleans, and they are still comfortably below the luxury tax line."

The Grizzlies wasted no time in making another move after that deal. ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Beverley was being dealt to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Jarrett Culver and Juancho Hernangomez.

It never seemed like Rondo's time with Memphis was going to last long. Morant is entrenched as the starting point guard, and De'Anthony Melton emerged as a solid backup last season with a 41.2 three-point percentage in 52 games.

Rondo is at the stage of his career where he could be a final piece that gets a playoff contender over the hump. He played an integral role off the bench for the Lakers during their title run in 2019-20.

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After starting last season with the Atlanta Hawks, the 35-year-old was traded to the Clippers at the trade deadline in March. He averaged 5.8 assists per game and shot 43.2 percent from behind the arc in 18 appearances down the stretch.

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