Getty Images

Rajon Rondo expects to ‘win now’ with LeBron James, Lakers

8 Comments

LAS VEGAS — Rajon Rondo officially joined the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday with a clear idea about his future with LeBron James.

“We’re expected to win now,” Rondo said.

Rondo agreed to a one-year deal worth $9 million earlier this week to suit up alongside James, whose signing hasn’t yet been announced by the Lakers.

The veteran point guard is eager to be a mentor to Lonzo Ball, and he sees a chance for immediate success with the thoroughly revamped club. The Lakers haven’t made the playoffs for a franchise-record five consecutive seasons, but Rondo believes they’ll make immediate strides back toward contention for a 17th NBA championship.

“You put any group of players around LeBron James, as he has done (eight) straight times, he went to the finals,” Rondo said. “So my expectations are the exact same thing. Even with the Warriors adding (DeMarcus Cousins) and the Rockets being who they are, I think we fit right up there in the mix. It is early, obviously, and I’m not promising anything, but at the end of the day, I expect to win. Nothing else.”

Rondo is a familiar figure to Lakers fans, and not necessarily in a good way. He played a major role for the Celtics when they met the Lakers in the NBA Finals, winning a ring with Boston in 2008 and losing to LA in 2010.

Seeing Rondo on the other side of that enduring NBA rivalry won’t be as weird to Rondo as it might be to some Lakers fans.

“Does it feel strange? Um, no,” Rondo said. “My battles with the Lakers were over a decade ago, and none of the players I was battling with are on the same roster.”

The 32-year-old Rondo expressed no concerns about playing with Ball, the precocious passer chosen by the Lakers with the second overall pick in last year’s draft. Ball will be sidelined for most of the summer with a torn meniscus in his left knee, but Rondo is eager to work on their chemistry in the fall.

“I’m excited to get a player that age and try to help him as much as I can,” said Rondo, a starter for all but small portions of his first 12 NBA seasons spent with five franchises.

Rondo sees the Lakers’ potential surplus of ball-handlers as an advantage. He isn’t worried about finding roles for everyone in coach Luke Walton’s up-tempo offense, which is designed to create plenty of offensive chances for every player.

“It will be very versatile, and I don’t think you’ll be able to scout and stick to one game plan as far as being able to stop a certain player,” Rondo said. “I think guys like LeBron or myself, I haven’t played with a lot of guys that make plays for me. So it’s going to be exciting to be able to just get up, get a couple of easy looks, be able to push the pace in the open court.”

The Lakers also announced the re-signing of guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who got a one-year deal worth $12 million to provide a perimeter shooting threat to an offense that could still use more outside shooters.

The Lakers haven’t yet announced the acquisitions of James or veterans Lance Stephenson and JaVale McGee during a thorough makeover following the worst half-decade in franchise history.

 

Knicks rookie R.J. Barrett out at least a week with right ankle sprain

R.J. Barrett
Stacy Revere/Getty Images
Leave a comment

NEW YORK (AP) New York Knicks rookie R.J. Barrett will miss at least a week with a sprained right ankle.

Barrett was hurt during the Knicks’ loss to Phoenix on Thursday. On Friday, he had X-rays, which were negative.

The Knicks announced afterward that Barrett will be re-evaluated in a week.

The No. 3 pick in the draft from Duke is averaging 14.1 points.

Heat: Justise Winslow out at least two more weeks

Justise Winslow
Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images
Leave a comment

MIAMI (AP) — The Miami Heat say Justise Winslow will miss at least two more weeks while recovering from a back injury.

Winslow has played only once since Dec. 4 and is slated to be out for at least the remainder of January. The team originally called Winslow’s injury a back strain, then updated the diagnosis to a bone bruise.

Winslow played off the bench in Miami’s win at Indiana on Jan. 8. The team said the back problems reappeared after that game. He has not played since.

Friday’s game in Oklahoma City is Miami’s 41st of the season and the 30th that Winslow has missed. He’s averaging 11.3 points, 6.6 rebounds and 4.0 assists for the Heat this season.

Kevin Huerter’s 3-pointer gives Hawks first win in San Antonio in his lifetime (video)

Leave a comment

The Hawks beat the Spurs in San Antonio on Feb. 15, 1997.

The next year, Kevin Huerter was born.

Atlanta’s next win in San Antonio came Friday, when Huerter hit the game-winning 3-pointer in a 121-120 win.

The Hawks’ losing streak in San Antonio spanned Tim Duncan’s entire lengthy career – and continued a few seasons beyond that. The only reprieve came during the lockout-shortened 1999 season, when Atlanta didn’t visit San Antonio. So, the skid lasted 21 games.

Buddy Hield on Kings getting booed at home: ‘That’s how Sacramento fans are’

Kings guard Buddy Hield
Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images
Leave a comment

Buddy Hield is quite familiar with frustration amid the Kings’ disappointing season.

Sacramento fans showed theirs Wednesday, booing the Kings during their home loss to the Mavericks.

Buddy Hield, via James Ham of NBC Sports California:

“Everybody is frustrated, it’s not even them, we’re trying to figure it out too,” Buddy Hield said following the loss. “But it’s the home team and we get booed…we don’t agree with it, but they’re going to voice their opinion.

“I understand their frustration, but like I said, I’m going to keep shooting the ball,” Hield continued. “When I make a three they like me, when I don’t, they hate you. That’s how Sacramento fans are, man, so you’ve got to embrace it.”

Hield seemingly isn’t looking to pick a fight with fans. He made a point to empathize with their frustration.

But I don’t think he’s being fair, either.

Kings fans are far more loyal than swinging between love and hate depending whether or not a shot falls. They’re fed up after 13 – going on 14 – straight seasons missing the playoffs. This year has been particularly discouraging, as Sacramento has backtracked from fun and fast to sad and slow. Losing to Luka Doncica particular grievance – only adds to the irritation.

The Kings’ problems have spanned multiple owners, executives, coaches and players. So, booing this group isn’t totally fair, either. But this is who’s in front of the fans.

If this Sacramento team plays hard and together, fans will embrace it – and stick with it through thinner times.