Kobe Bryant had a very public breakfast with Rajon Rondo during the Lakers trip to Boston earlier this season, in what may have been a bit of a feeling out process.
The Lakers were reportedly interested in acquiring Rondo, but lacked the assets to get a deal done before Celtics GM Danny Ainge eventually settled on a package he liked from the Mavericks.
While Rondo has been thriving in his new role and Dallas is almost certainly going to finish the year with an entry into the postseason, he will be an unrestricted free agent next summer. And as long as that door remains even slightly open, Bryant will continue to hold out hope that he can convince him to come to Los Angeles.
Bryant took particular interest in the late-December trade of Rajon Rondo to the Dallas Mavericks. He and Rondo had breakfast together when the Lakers were in Boston early last month, and it was widely assumed that Bryant was doing a little early recruiting on the point guard who becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer.
While Mavericks owner Mark Cuban expressed confidence his club can and will sign Rondo to a new deal, Bryant told the Herald he’s not about to cease working on getting him to LA.
“No way,” Bryant said. “I’m not done. I’m not stopping until he signs an extension.”
The Lakers prefer to rebuild quickly through free agency, rather than take their chances on unproven young talent by bottoming out to obtain high draft picks. Rondo is likely to stay in Dallas, but if the Lakers decide to overpay, you never know what the future might hold.
Bryant’s recruiting efforts may have some sway over available free agents, and his efforts will almost assuredly matter more than those of Nick Young. But L.A.’s ability to attract more than one of them would carry more weight, because (depending on who those pieces were) it could put them back into the realm of immediate playoff contention.