One of several meme-able acquisitions this summer, Rajon Rondo’s signing with the Los Angeles Lakers was under strange circumstances. The point guard left the New Orleans Pelicans after a strong season in NOLA just as the Lakers’ Julius Randle asked to become an unrestricted free agent and signed with the Pelicans.
As it turns out, that may not have been the weirdest part of the whole ordeal. According to Pelicans broadcaster Joel Meyers (on his radio show), Rondo and his agent, Bill Duffy, did not give the Pelicans much of a chance to retain his services:
“I know why he went, cause the attention that it’s going to bring and it’s dramatic. And I know everything that went on behind the scenes and the demand he made was just enormous, out of nowhere a five-minute warning. ‘You have five minutes to do this,’ from his agent. It’s interesting that the Pelicans put him in a good position, put him on the floor and then they were like…relationships are everything in business but you couldn’t read on this one. He wanted to be there is my point.”
Meyers continued by giving some details on the negotiation and Rondo’s demands:
“It was two years. And then they offered two years but it was dramatically more than the original offer. And it was a five-minute warning and you can’t match the team that just offered him one year. Pelicans offered to match the one year, they weren’t allowed to. That tells you he didn’t want to be there.”
This isn’t the first such story that has come from the Pelicans this offseason. DeMarcus Cousins was also reportedly disappointed in their original offer, opting instead to take less money and join the Golden State Warriors. NBA players tend to be prideful and more often than not, they expect more from the team they have already played for than the one offering a new contract.
It should also be noted that as a broadcaster, Meyers is not exactly the most unbiased source of news. With reports that star center Anthony Davis was upset and blindsided by both Cousins and Rondo leaving, it’s not impossible that the Pelicans are doing some damage control by saying “Hey look! We tried!”
That said, it also makes sense that Rondo, someone known to be a hot-head and not get along with the organizations he’s played for, would be disappointed by a Pelicans offer and join a team with that LeBron James guy on it even for less money.