The Lakers re-signing Rajon Rondo – even to just a minimum-salary contract – last offseason drew skepticism. He was such a terrible fit with LeBron James. And the Lakers gave Rondo a two-year deal – with a player option!
But Rondo, 12 years after he won with the Celtics, proved he could still help a championship team. He improved his on-court chemistry with LeBron. And Rondo especially stepped up in the title-clinching Game 6 of the NBA Finals.
Now, it’s time to get paid.
Chris Sheridan of BasketballNews.com:
Rajon Rondo will opt out of his contract with the Los Angeles Lakers to become an unrestricted free agent, BasketballNews.com learned on Thursday.
Rondo’s player option is worth $2,692,991 next season. Though that’s the minimum, he’s taking a slight risk by opting out.
He was set to earn the minimum for the second year of a contract – 5% higher than the first-year minimum. Now, his minimum for next season will be the first-year minimum.
That was $2,564,753 this season. If the salary cap stays the same, that will presumably remain the first-year minimum salary with a player of Rondo’s experience level (10-plus seasons).
The salary cap could also drop due to coronavirus and the economic fallout. Presumably, minimum salaries would also decline by a commensurate amount.
Of course, Rondo isn’t necessarily in line for another minimum contract. Sometimes, players get pigeonholed as minimum guys. But the Lakers paid Rondo $9 million just two seasons ago.
Here’s guessing the Lakers, who hold his Early Bird Rights and have little salary-cap flexibility otherwise, reward Rondo with a raise over his player-option salary. But that’s far from guaranteed. By opting out, Rondo opens plenty of possibilities.