After Ricky Rubio was ruled out for the season for the Cleveland Cavaliers due to an ACL injury, there was a lot of speculation on who would be backing up Darius Garland for the remainder of the season. Well, there’s no need to speculate any further as The Athletic’s Shams Charania tweeted on Thursday evening that the Cavs are in “serious talks” to acquire veteran guard Rajon Rondo from the Los Angeles Lakers.
In his second stint with the Lakers Rondo is averaging a career-worst 3.1 points, 2.7 rebounds and 3.7 assists in 16.1 minutes per game. Rondo has also been more or less phased out of Los Angeles’s rotation with LeBron James and Russell Westbrook handling the majority of the playmaking load offensively for the Lakers this season.
With the sudden emergence of Stanley Johnson, Los Angeles also needs a roster spot in order to sign him long-term. Cleveland has a trade exception available from the JaVale McGee trade to Denver last season that cleanly absorbs Rondo’s contract. The Cavs can throw in a fake second-round selection to finalize the deal and both parties can move forward together.
Rondo will bring a veteran presence to Cleveland’s locker room and can pick up reserve playmaking duties from where Rubio left off. Sure, he won’t have the same scoring punch Rubio has provided this season. But, Rondo will still be a legitimate upgrade over Kevin Pangos or R.J. Nembhard.