The Los Angeles Lakers have traded Rajon Rondo to the Sacramento Kings for Marco Belinelli, future draft picks and players. Vogel’s decision has been widely discussed as a potential strategy that moves the Lakers closer to their goal of securing LeBron James next year.
The “lakers roster 2022” is a team that has been in the spotlight for their recent trade of Rajon Rondo. The trade helps the Lakers’ roster flexibility and coach Frank Vogel says so.
LOS ANGELES, Calif. — When it came to trade Rajon Rondo, the Lakers prioritized roster flexibility above possible playoff contributions in the future, according to coach Frank Vogel.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Los Angeles Lakers shipped away Rondo, a handful of overseas players, and $1.1 million on Monday as part of a three-team agreement with the Cleveland Cavaliers and New York Knicks. Denzel Valentine, draft rights to Brad Newley (54th pick in 2007), L.A.’s draft rights to Wang Zhelin (57th selection in 2016), and cash were sent to the Knicks in exchange for Rondo; and New York’s draft rights to Louis Labeyrie (57th pick in 2014) were returned to the Lakers.
Due to all of the players unavailable due to COVID-19 protocols, the move freed up a roster spot for L.A., which had been carrying the maximum allotment of 15 full-time players, two two-way players, and not to mention a handful of players who cycled through the locker room on 10-day hardship exemptions.
“Obviously, the opportunity to have flexibility with the roster slot for what we have heading forward, which is still unknown, I think Rob [Pelinka], the Lakers’ vice president of basketball operations and general manager, simply saw value in that,” Vogel said of Pelinka.
Rondo was earning the maximum veteran’s minimum of close to $2.6 million as a 16-year veteran. L.A. could save roughly $4 million in salary and luxury tax fines by keeping the roster position available. Alternatively, L.A. could fill the spot with a younger veteran earning less money on a veteran’s minimum contract based on his experience, such as Stanley Johnson, a seven-year vet whose 10-day hardship contract with L.A. expired Monday, and still save money compared to what the team would have paid to keep Rondo.
Vogel said that the Lakers are “partners” with all of their players, and that giving Rondo a chance to “play a bigger role in the rotation” made him pleased. Rondo inked a contract with the Lakers in the summer to return after spending last season with the Atlanta Hawks and LA Clippers, and it was understood that he would not play much, according to Vogel.
“It’d be more of a non-playing job, a third-string point guard type,” Vogel said, “but to leverage his I.Q. and intellect.” “And it will be sorely missed.”
Rondo joins a Cavs club that just lost backup point guard Ricky Rubio to an ACL rupture and was already missing guard Collin Sexton, who had season-ending surgery on his left knee in November.
Rondo, 35, participated in 18 games for the Lakers this season, averaging 3.1 points, 3.7 assists, and 2.7 rebounds in 16.1 minutes per game. The Lakers were 5-13 in his appearances, and he last played for the team on Dec. 23, shortly before entering the league’s health and safety regulations.
The output was a far cry from “Playoff Rondo’s” effect on the Lakers in the NBA’s early stages in Orlando, Florida, when he averaged 8.9 points on 40 percent shooting from three, 6.6 assists, 4.3 rebounds, and 1.4 steals en route to the championship.
“Rondo is everything to me,” Vogel added. “He’s one of my favorite guys I’ve ever had the pleasure of coaching. He was a key component of our title two years ago, as well as my first championship, and he’ll always be a special player and friend to me. So I wish him nothing but the best for the time being, and we’ll keep in contact and such.”
The truth is, with the Lakers reaching the halfway mark of the season with a 19-19 record, they may not be able to make the playoff run they hoped for unless they make changes to shore up the roster with players who can help them compete right now.
“It’s not like we wanted to leave Rondo,” Vogel said. “But it’s simply one of those tough front-office choices you have to make, and losing a player like Rondo is clearly extremely difficult.”
Johnson, 25, averaged 6.8 points on 45.8% shooting, 2.8 rebounds, and 1.2 steals in five games with the Lakers, three of which he started. As L.A.’s defensive end, he was praised for his tenacity and dedication. While Anthony Davis is sidelined with a sprained MCL in his left knee, the team has adjusted on the fly to almost exclusively using small ball lines.
“We still don’t know what’s going to happen next,” Vogel added. “Rob and Kurt [Rambis] will make those choices as they feel appropriate, and everything will be revealed in the coming days. We’re still hoping to see [Johnson] for a few more games. Over the following three days, all of those answers will be revealed.”
The Lakers’ 10-day hardship contract with Darren Collison also ended on Monday, and he was not with the team. In terms of health and safety procedures, L.A. presently has no players.
In terms of guard Avery Bradley’s contract, the next few days are crucial. If the Lakers do not waive him by Friday, the balance of his $2.6 veteran’s minimum contract becomes fully guaranteed.
Bradley is averaging 6.4 points, 2.5 rebounds, and 1.0 steals per game while shooting 40% from the three-point line. After being released by the Golden State Warriors during training camp, he signed a non-guaranteed agreement to return to L.A. He’s started 25 of the 30 games he’s played for the Lakers.
On Sunday, LeBron James said of Bradley, “Over the stretches we’ve had him in uniform, he’s performed really well for us.” “He simply creates plays on both ends of the court when he’s on the floor.”
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Los Angeles Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka traded Rajon Rondo to the New Orleans Pelicans in exchange for a 2021 second-round pick. The move has given the Lakers roster flexibility, according to coach Frank Vogel. Reference: lakers 2021.
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