The Lakers re-signing Rajon Rondo – even to just a minimum-salary contract – last offseason drew skepticism. He was such a terrible fit with LeBron James. And the Lakers gave Rondo a two-year deal – with a player option!
But Rondo, 12 years after he won with the Celtics, proved he could still help a championship team. He improved his on-court chemistry with LeBron. And Rondo especially stepped up in the title-clinching Game 6 of the NBA Finals.
Now, it’s time to get paid.
Rajon Rondo will opt out of his contract with the Los Angeles Lakers to become an unrestricted free agent, BasketballNews.com learned on Thursday.
Rondo’s player option is worth $2,692,991 next season. Though that’s the minimum, he’s taking a slight risk by opting out.
He was set to earn the minimum for the second year of a contract – 5% higher than the first-year minimum. Now, his minimum for next season will be the first-year minimum.
That was $2,564,753 this season. If the salary cap stays the same, that will presumably remain the first-year minimum salary with a player of Rondo’s experience level (10-plus seasons).
The salary cap could also drop due to coronavirus and the economic fallout. Presumably, minimum salaries would also decline by a commensurate amount.
Of course, Rondo isn’t necessarily in line for another minimum contract. Sometimes, players get pigeonholed as minimum guys. But the Lakers paid Rondo $9 million just two seasons ago.
Here’s guessing the Lakers, who hold his Early Bird Rights and have little salary-cap flexibility otherwise, reward Rondo with a raise over his player-option salary. But that’s far from guaranteed. By opting out, Rondo opens plenty of possibilities.