There’s no secret to the mutual desire between the Los Angeles Lakers and soon-to-be free agent Rajon Rondo.
Just don’t expect the Lakers to throw crazy money at the mercurial floor general this summer (Rondo made $12.9 million in 2014-’15.)
The front-office in Los Angeles has reportedly cooled on Rondo given how badly things ended for him with the Dallas Mavericks—co-owner Jim Buss and general manager Mitch Kupchak have grown somewhat disenchanted with the 29-year old point guard.
Per Bleacher Report:
Thus no one should expect the Lakers to recycle those old “STAY” billboards for Dwight Howard, flipping them over to be barefaced welcome mats for Rondo this offseason, no matter how much he wants to come. […] The Lakers have higher priorities when it comes to spending their precious 2015 salary-cap space. They are hopeful of buying a foundational piece—something they aren’t convinced Rondo is.
The notion that the Lakers were going to be the ones to sign Rondo to a maximum contract has been put forth and perpetuated mostly by people on his side, not the Lakers’. Now that Rondo’s season is over due to an indeterminate back injury and indubitable productivity famine, it’s time to begin projecting his next stop. […] Will it be the Lakers? Even they have little idea, because they don’t know what better players they can attract with their free-agent offers. The Lakers will have perhaps $22 million to spend this summer—and they’re somewhat torn internally how much a newly motivated Rondo, 29, might push the franchise forward.
Which brings us to another reason the Lakers might see Rondo helping: Kobe. Bryant was excited with the possibility Chris Paul might join him before the NBA intervened, and made news this season with a very public breakfast meeting with Rondo in Boston. A great point guard would help an aging Bryant economize his effort and game by feeding him in prime scoring position. It never came to fruition with the injury-prone (Steve) Nash, but Rondo makes theoretical sense with his court vision—and disinterest in competing with Bryant for shot attempts.