Rondo finally finds a home in New Orleans.
Rajon Rondo has agreed to a one-year deal with the New Orleans Pelicans, according to the Vertical’s Shams Charania. The financial terms of the deal have not yet been reported.
Rondo had taken a backseat as point guard free agency mostly sorted itself out, and the Pelicans and Lakers were the only teams who reportedly had serious conversations with the veteran.
But the Pelicans finalized the deal, most likely to help convince free agent-to be DeMarcus Cousins to stay in New Orleans. Cousins and Rondo both played together two seasons ago with the Sacramento Kings.
In New Orleans, Rondo is unlikely to start, as the team just invested $126 million in Jrue Holiday this summer. But they are missing a backup guard after shipping Tim Frazier off to the Wizards for a second-round pick. If New Orleans wishes to run Rondo next Holiday that’s an option that can’t be ruled out either.
The Pelicans still lack shooting though, and Rondo won’t help that. But the elite passer should get the most out of Cousins and Anthony Davis, one of the best big man pairs in the game.
Why this makes sense for the Pelicans
The Pelicans aren’t ready to make that championship leap just yet, lacking the aforementioned shooters. They also aren’t quite sure how to make Davis and Cousins work perfectly together, having the two for less than half of last season. Rondo could be a solution for fitting the two together.
Both on and off the court, Cousins developed a good relationship out in Sacramento with Rondo as well. With the big man able to walk for nothing after this year, keeping him happy will be a huge focus for the Pelicans. This helps.
Rondo also had a strong playoff performance against the Boston Celtics in the first round of the playoffs last season before he was sidelined with a thumb injury. In two games he tallied 12 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds, and the Bulls won the first two games of the series. He’s got some play left in him, and will fill a role off the bench. Most importantly, this is just a one year investment for the Pelicans.
Why this makes sense for Rondo
This is Rondo’s third consecutive one-year deal, as he hasn’t proven himself to any team enough to land a multi-year stay. He’s 31 years old, and long deals will be hard for him to find anymore, but in New Orleans he has a chance to run deeper into the playoffs. He didn’t have that opportunity in Sacramento or Chicago, and wouldn’t have had if he pursued a deal with the Lakers.
With the Pelicans, his role is defined, and if things work well between him and the bigs playing alongside Holiday, he could finish his career there. He couldn’t have hoped for much more.