Rondo, 35, signed a one-year deal with the Lakers in the summer but he fell out of the rotation early on with his lackluster play. Though he could still facilitate the offense with his crafty passing, his shooting numbers declined (32.4% overall, 26.7% from deep) and his defense was taken advantage of.
Beyond his play, the Lakers counted on him to provide veteran leadership off the bench, similar to how Jared Dudley operated in recent years.
During his media session after Monday’s practice, head coach Frank Vogel revealed why L.A. made the decision to trade the veteran.
“The front office felt like there was a need for flexibility, and it wasn’t like we wanted to part with Rondo. But the opportunity presented…he has a chance to go and fill in with a really good young team…and you want to do what’s best for the player as well,” Vogel said. “It’s one of those front office decisions that you have to make difficult decisions, to lose a guy like Rondo is obviously very difficult.”
Vogel explained how much Rondo meant to him during their time together.
“Rondo means the world to me,” Vogel said. “He’s one of my favorite players I’ve ever coached, was an integral part of us winning the championship two years ago, me winning my first championship, and he’ll always be a special player and friend to me. Wish nothing but the best for him.”
The trade means the Lakers now have an open roster spot, which can be used in various ways. The one that stands out is holding it open for Stanley Johnson to sign for the remainder of the season.