Update: Lakers trade Rajon Rondo to Cavs

Rajon Rondo
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – FEBRUARY 21: Anthony Davis #3 and Rajon Rondo #9 of the Los Angeles Lakers discuss play against the Memphis Grizzlies during the third quarter at Staples Center on February 21, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Update: 1/3/22 8:12 AM

If you’re wondering why the Lakers trade of Rajon Rondo to the Cavs is not official yet, now you know. According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, the deal is expanding to three teams and Denzel Valentine will now be routed to the New York Knicks.

The Knicks will be receiving cash to help the Lakers save money on their luxury tax payments that would be incurred by waiving Valentine’s partially guaranteed contract, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Draft rights to players that likely will not play in the NBA will also be exchanged to make the trade legal.

Update: 12/31/21 8:07 AM

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Lakers will receive Denzel Valentine in return for Rajon Rondo. However, Valentine has only a partially guaranteed contract and is expected to be waived to open up a roster spot for the Lakers. Stanley Johnson seems to be the favorite to be signed to the newly opened roster spot.

Update: 12/31/21 7:30 AM

According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, the Lakers have agreed to terms on a trade that will send Rajon Rondo to the Cavaliers. The return for the Lakers has not been reported but earlier reports indicated that the expectation was for the Lakers to open up a roster spot in the transaction.

Original Story Follows:

The first serious trade rumors of the 2021 NBA season have caught the Los Angeles Lakers. According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, the team is in “serious talks” on a trade that would send Rajon Rondo to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, a deal could be reached as early as Friday.

The Cavaliers have suffered season-ending injuries to two lead guards in Collin Sexton and Ricky Rubio. Sitting at a surprising fifth place in the competitive Eastern Conference, they could be in buy mode to get reinforcements that could keep them in the playoff picture.

Rondo, who is currently the last remaining Laker in health and safety protocol, has played in just 18 games this season. While his role as a mentor and pseudo-coach is invaluable, his play on the court has kept him glued to the bench except in extreme cases of injury.

Rondo was signed to a veteran minimum contract in the offseason so the terms of a trade would be fairly simple. The Cavs have Dylan Windler, Ed Davis, Denzel Valentine, Dean Wade, Kevin Pangos, and Lamar Stevens as matchable contracts. Of those, only Windler and Pangos have guaranteed salaries.

The Cavs also have a trade exception that would allow the Lakers to send Rondo to Cleveland without getting any players back (and instead receiving a protected pick or cash) and therefore, opening up a roster spot to use on a player like Stanley Johnson. However, Cleveland has 15 players signed to their roster, not counting two-ways and hardship exception players and would have to release one to make such a move legal.

Davis stands out as a player that could fill a hole for the Lakers as they have struggled for reliability at the center position all season, especially in Anthony Davis’ absence.

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