Report: Lakers would rather pursue Rondo in free agency than give up assets in trade

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It doesn’t sound like the Los Angeles Lakers will be the ones trading for Rajon Rondo. They’ve made offers to the Celtics that haven’t really gained traction, and a new report by Sports Illustrated‘s Chris Mannix suggests that the Lakers might just wait it out until this summer and try to sign Rondo as a free agent.

According to previous reports, the Lakers have offered packages involving either Jordan Hill or Steve Nash along with a first-round pick, both of which were rejected by Celtics GM Danny Ainge.

Given the Lakers’ lack of young assets, that’s about the best they’ll be able to do. They’re not going to give up 2014 No. 7 pick Julius Randle, who still has tremendous potential even though he’s out for the year with a broken leg. And they would be foolish to trade their upcoming pick, which is currently owed to Phoenix unless it’s in the top five. They could remove the protections for the first five picks for the Celtics, but they need as much young talent as they can possibly get, so that’s not going to happen.

The Lakers also own the Rockets’ first-round pick in the upcoming draft, but with Houston poised to be one of the top teams in the Western Conference, that won’t be a high enough pick to entice Ainge.

If Rondo gets traded anywhere before the deadline, it seems like it will be either Dallas or Houston. The Lakers will be forced to wait until free agency if they want to make a run at him.