Kobe Bryant and Rajon Rondo shared breakfast in Boston yesterday, which sent a lot of people into a tizzy – just as Kevin Love visiting Beantown last summer had many convinced he’d force his way to the Celtics.
Love wound up in Cleveland, and there’s no reason to believe this breakfast was a clear precursor to Rondo joining the Lakers (or Kobe the Celtics, for that matter).
But, as rumored, the Lakers would like to add Rondo.
While there are no active talks between the two franchises involving a trade for Rondo, sources said the teams did have a brief discussion a few months ago.
Rondo will be a free agent this summer, and sources stressed that the Celtics would prefer to re-sign him.
Their willingness to engage in talks regarding Rondo is merely informational at this point, sources said.
However, the Lakers have long held interest in the point guard, who helped Boston defeat them in the 2008 NBA Finals as a rookie, and sources indicate he is high on their list of free-agent targets this summer.
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Whether or not Kobe and Rondo directly discussed playing together matters only so much. These are two competitors who’ve expressed mutual admiration for each other over the years, and how a player feels about Kobe would obviously highly influence whether he’d sign with the Lakers. If Rondo enjoys being around Kobe, this breakfast included, that ever so slightly nudges the point guard toward Los Angeles.
The Lakers have reportedly tried to trade for Rondo before – talking Dwight Howard in 2013 and Pau Gasol in 2012 – but they probably lack the assets to make a deal now. They owe the Suns and Magic first-round picks, and I doubt they’re rushing to surrender the first rounder incoming from the Rockets.
Besides, why would Los Angeles trade for Rondo now when they can just sign him as a free agent this offseason? At 5-14, they have little impetus to get better before this summer.
Wooing Rondo will be difficult. The Celtics say they’re committed to re-signing him, were recently reportedly unwilling to trade him and have surrounded him with better teammates. He’ll have plenty of other suitors, too.
But the better Rondo feels about Kobe, the better chance the Lakers have. This breakfast probably carries little short-term significance for either team’s roster.
Long term? Considering the Lakers’ plans, maybe a little.