Rondo is leading the NBA in assists per game (10.7) and triple-doubles (four). He’s grabbing a career-high 7.1 rebounds per game. He’s also adding 12.9 points per game while shooting career-high 35.4% on 3-pointers for Sacramento, which has outscored opponents by 3.6 points per 100 possessions when Rondo and DeMarcus Cousins share the court.
But the Kings were wrong about the length of Rondo’s one-year contract. It’s a potential problem.
Rondo will become an unrestricted free agent next summer, and the Kings won’t even have Bird Rights or Early Bird Rights on him. They should have enough cap space to keep him if Non-Bird Rights – a form of Bird Rights that allows a team to pay 120% of his previous salary – aren’t enough, but their flexibility is limited.
After a disastrous stint with the Mavericks, Rondo needed to rehabilitate his image. Sacramento might not have been the only team willing to sign him last summer, but the market was far barer than most expected when the Celtics traded him.
If Rondo maintains his improved play, he’ll probably find more suitors this offseason. Would he bolt Sacramento?
Cousins expects Rondo to be in a Kings uniform with him next season when a new downtown arena opens.
“He ain’t going nowhere. I will kidnap him myself,” Cousins told Yahoo Sports.
Rondo said he’d been wanting to play with the “best big man in the game” for the past three years, so does that mean he’s re-signing with the Kings next offseason?
“In the words of K.G., ‘Anything is possible,’ “ Rondo told Yahoo Sports.
A lot will happen between now and Rondo signing his next contract.
The most important factor: Money. If the Kings offer Rondo the biggest deal, he’ll probably re-sign.
Winning matters, too. The better Sacramento plays, the better its chances of keeping him. Having played for some excellent Celtics teams, Rondo might not have much patience for a prolonged rebuild if he has alternatives with better teams.
I don’t think he had better options last summer, which leads to another crucial factor – Rondo’s production. As well as he’s playing, there are still areas for concern. His defense has fallen off tremendously, and his never-good free-throw shooting has become woeful. Seemingly as a result, Rondo attacks the rim less. Rondo turns 30 in February, and teams might be concerned about diminishing athleticism.
Playing with Cousins should be a point in the Kings’ favor, but if Rondo gets other offers, I think he’ll at least look around.