Rajon Rondo will be exploring free agency come July
The impending free agency of Rajon Rondo was the factor that called into question the Boston Celtics’ long term intentions with their All-Star point guard. Clearly there wasn’t enough confidence that Rondo would choose Boston over a potential contender that would inevitably pursue him as a free agent this summer.
For Dallas, acquiring Rondo simply meant advancing the complexion and ability of their team and giving them even more legitimate hope to contend in the rigorous Western Conference. But regardless of Rondo’s possible success with the Mavericks this season, he still has free agency to consider this summer, and according to Sporting News’ Sean Deveney, he will still explore the market:
The Mavericks made a deal for the four-time All-Star last month, and did so without seeking explicit confirmation that Rondo would re-sign with Dallas, a source told Sporting News. Instead, ahead of making the deal, the Mavericks wanted only to know they would be given a fair shake for Rondo this summer. By the same token, the Mavs have made no commitments in terms of putting up a max-contract offer.
There will be other teams involved in the pursuit of Rondo. The Lakers have long expressed interest and still are expected to be among the first in line in the bidding for Rondo. The Knicks—yes, even with the triangle offense—are already certain to be in the mix, too, a source with knowledge of the situation told SN.
…Rondo’s preference would be to play for a winner, and the Mavericks are set up to contend for the next few years. “Depending on how things go from here, obviously, Dallas would get the first word,” with Rondo, the source said.
The Mavericks are looking for their fifth straight win today against Cleveland. Rondo currently has his wish of playing for a contender. Dallas is at 24-10 and just a half game behind Memphis for third place in the conference. Assuming it would be the plan to keep Rondo, Ellis, and Parsons around Dirk Nowitzki, plus some much needed additions for their bench, the situation might just be ideal for Rondo to stay in Dallas.
The Knicks and Lakers are both looking at any and all talented free agents this summer, they both need a point guard of Rondo’s caliber, and they’ll both have cap space. Rondo’s breakfast with Kobe Bryant was well documented in speculation while he was still in Boston, and was followed by the Lakers’ trade offer for Rondo that was shot down by the Celtics.
Unless the Lakers or Knicks have already made drastic improvements before pursuing Rondo, signing with either of those teams would be a downgrade from his situation with the Mavericks. The bidding wars will be interesting, and the outcome of this interim stint with Dallas for the remainder of this season might be the only indicator as to how Rondo’s future will pan out.