Once Rajon Rondo was released by the Memphis Grizzlies, the Los Angeles Lakers moved quickly to sign him back into the fold. The team was reportedly looking for another point guard and the 15-year veteran fit the bill as one of the most important pieces during the team’s 2020 championship run.
Though last season didn’t go as well as he would have hoped with the Atlanta Hawks and Los Angeles Clippers, many presumed Rondo would step back into the same role he occupied previously with the Lakers as a relied upon guard off the bench. But apparently, that won’t be the case.
Head coach Frank Vogel recently joined Spectrum’s “LakeShow” podcast with Allie Clifton and Chris McGee and described Rondo’s role on the team as being one more focused on leadership as opposed to major minutes every night, similar to Jared Dudley the last couple of seasons:
“I think Rondo coming back can be a real positive voice. For a guy that’s not gonna play as much but can really impact our team with his leadership.”
There was a lot of discussion about the loss of Dudley and the impact that would have in the locker room and the addition of Rondo is one way the Lakers plan on filling that gap.
Rondo is one of the most intelligent players in the history of the NBA and his knowledge and input will be extremely valued even for a veteran team such as the one this front office has put together.
With Russell Westbrook being the team’s starting point guard, and young players Talen Horton-Tucker and Kendrick Nunn likely to see big roles as well, it would be Rondo battling with the likes of Wayne Ellington and Kent Bazemore for regular minutes. All in all, it would have been a big hill to climb for Rondo to be in the normal rotation.
But one thing about the Lakers is that they have always been transparent about a player’s role and expectations upon arrival so you can guarantee that this was discussed with Rondo before he returned to the team. Every player on this team has a role to fill and for Rondo this season, that planned role is primarily as a locker room leader, one in which he should thrive.
Rondo says Vogel played huge role in return to Lakers
Rondo’s reputation hasn’t always been the best when it has come to his relationship with coaches, but he and Vogel have been on the same page since day one. And that relationship between the two is a big reason for Rondo’s return.
“It played a huge role, you know, obviously, everybody wants to be wanted,” Rondo explained. “But having Coach Frank, I talked to him early this morning as far as his expectations for me and understanding that he missed my voice last year in the locker room, which meant a lot kind of saying that I do have value here and wanted to be wanted.
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