It is now being reported by Marc Stein of The New York Times that the Atlanta Hawks will be in the “pole position” to acquire Rajon Rondo once he hits free agency. They’re also likely to sign Danilo Gallinari from the Oklahoma City Thunder.
There is a growing belief among rival teams that Atlanta will be in pole position for Danilo Gallinari and Rajon Rondo when free agency begins later this week, league sources say
As @NYTSports reported on Oct. 28, Rondo is also poised to receive strong interest from the Clippers
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) November 18, 2020
As it was previously reported by Frank Isola below, the Hawks may be preparing a 2 year/$15 million deal for Rondo which would be much more than what the Lakers are willing to pay him. Stein leaves open the possibility that the Clippers could still sign him, but either way, it’s growing more and more likely that Rajon Rondo won’t be in a Lakers uniform next year.
The Lakers are sort of sitting on the sidelines now after their reported deal for Dennis Schröder, while most of the NBA is working on huge deals including rumors swirling around about the Rockets’ James Harden and Russell Westbrook. The Lakers will examine their obstacles towards another championship once the dust settles, first, they must focus on retaining the players they want while also possibly bringing in outside talent to help LeBron James and (assumedly) Anthony Davis. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope will reportedly decline his player option to become a free agent, but most believe he will return. Rajon Rondo is also reportedly expected to decline his option, but it sounds as though that he will have suitors, most notably the Atlanta Hawks and Los Angeles Clippers.
The connection between those teams and Rajon Rondo is apparently getting stronger, as ESPN’s Frank Isola is reporting that the Hawks will offer Rondo a large contract although he is still reportedly focused on joining the Clippers. Isola did not mention the Lakers in any way.
Rajon Rondo is expected to receive a significant offer from the Atlanta Hawks ($15 million for two years guaranteed) but according to a source, Rondo remains focused on potentially joining the Clippers. He could possibly get the mid-level from LAC.
— Frank Isola (@TheFrankIsola) November 17, 2020
The Lakers are going to have limited cap space this offseason once a deal for Anthony Davis is completed. LeBron James’ salary will be $39.2 million, Davis’ will be $32.7 million, while Caldwell-Pope will be expected to have an annual salary near Dennis Schröder’s of $15 million. Needless to say, Rob Pelinka will be working around the margins with the rest of the cap as he will be trying to build a roster for Frank Vogel that can repeat as champions. $7.5 million per year for Rajon Rondo may not be realistic. If it was, you would assume that you wouldn’t see so many rumors circling Rondo from other teams, just like how you don’t see rumors circulating about Davis who will inevitably sign with since he has probably told most teams he is signing with the Lakers.
We’ll see how the rumors continue to develop ahead of free agency’s start on Friday.