Sacramento Kings to Target Rajon Rondo


As if the current dysfunction for the Sacramento Kings isn’t enough, namely between superstar DeMarcus Cousins and head coach George Karl, there could be more on the horizon.

Kings’ head decision maker Vlade Divac has reached out to free agent point guard Rajon Rondo, according to Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports. Last year, the Kings’ center Cousins called Rondo the best point guard in the game, and he may soon have the opportunity to see if that’s true, up close and personal.

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Rondo will be entering his 10th NBA season in the 2015-2016 campaign. He spent the first eight and a half years with the Boston Celtics, and finished last year with the Dallas Mavericks after a midseason trade. For his career, he averages 10.8 points, 8.3 assists, and 4.7 rebounds per game.

Controversy has followed Rondo over the past couple of seasons. In 2014, around the time of his birthday in February, there was some “miscommunication” between Rondo and the Celtics. After a game in Los Angeles, Rondo opted to stay in the city and celebrate rather than travel to Sacramento with the team for a game. Rondo was not scheduled to play in that game with the Kings.

Although Celtics’ President of Baskeball Operations Danny Ainge said there may be consequences regarding the matter, none were handed down.

Last season, after the trade to the Mavericks, Rondo was benched for one game for “conduct detrimental to the team”. The guard and Mavs’ head coach Rick Carlisle got into a heated shouting match on the court in the middle of what would eventually be a loss to the Houston Rockets, after Rondo blatantly ignored Carlisle’s coaching orders. Coincidentally, that incident also took place in February.

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Rondo would also miss the last portion of the Mavericks’ playoff run last year with a back injury, although there was much speculation that the injury was merely a cover, allowing Dallas to keep Rondo off the court.

If Karl is worried about Cousins’ attitude, so much so that he is desperate for the team to trade him elsewhere, he should be extremely wary of the possibility of Rondo joining the Kings. Having two players with perceived attitude problems would make Karl’s job that much more difficult.

Despite the bad vibes, there’s no denying that Rondo has had quite a career, and owns a laundry list of accolades. He’s a four-time All-Star, being named to the team from 2010 to 2013. He’s been on the All-Defensive teams four times, including First-Team in 2010 and 2011, and Second-Team in 2009 and 2012. He’s led the NBA in assists twice, in 2012 and 2013, and led the league in steals in 2010. He was also an NBA champion in 2008 with the Celtics.

2014-2015 was a down year statistically for Rondo. He averaged 8.9 points per game, the lowest total since his rookie year, and his 7.9 assists were the lowest since his second season. He was playing 29.7 minutes per game, which was also the lowest total since his rookie season.

Rondo’s “per 36 minutes” totals were much more in line with his career averages. If he had played that many minutes, he would have averaged 10.8 points and 9.6 assists, hypothetically.

While it may not be a good thing for Karl’s mental health, bringing in Rondo could be good for a team that is still rebuilding. Darren Collison, the team’s incumbent point guard, was having a very nice season last year before a hip injury ended his year prematurely, averaging over 15 points and five assists.

But when Rondo is healthy and motivated, he is one of the best playmakers in the game, and just maybe, as Cousins said, the best there is. He could open up the offense more than Collison could, leading to more opportunities to Cousins, Rudy Gay, who averaged over 20 points last season, and this year’s first-round draft pick Willie Cauley-Stein. The rookie Cauley-Stein is not known as much of an offensive threat, but Rondo’s playmaking ability may open up the space under the rim for him a little more, leading to easy opportunities.

Divac has stuck by Cousins’ side through the whole ordeal with Coach Karl, and maybe that loyalty will be a nice selling point for Rondo. He is also good friends with Gay, so playing with him could be another point in the Kings’ favor.

With Rondo, a team would have to take the good with the bad. For a team like the Kings, it might be a good thing to take that risk.

Next: What Does Cauley-Stein Mean for Cousins?