Lakers point guard Rajon Rondo is excited to play for a Cavaliers team that’s been on the rise this season, and the deal to send him to Cleveland is now all but official.
In exchange for Rondo, the Lakers will receive guard/forward Denzel Valentine, who will be waived to open a roster spot, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Hoops Wire wrote about a possible Valentine-for-Rondo deal right here on Thursday, as Valentine did not play in that night’s loss to the Wizards.
Rondo, 35, has not been a major part of the Lakers’ rotation this season, but that is expected to change in Cleveland. He will be counted on to help replace the loss of Ricky Rubio, out for the year after suffering a torn ACL in his left knee.
Per Wojnarowski, Rondo is “eager” to play for a resurgent Cavs team that has become of the NBA’s best early-season surprises. “He’s been positive on the deal since it was presented to him as an option yesterday,” Wojnarowski reported.
Rondo, 35, is in his first season back with the Lakers after spending last year with the Hawks and Clippers. He was also a member of the Lakers during their 2020 championship run in the Orlando bubble.
He has appeared in 18 games this season, playing a reserve role behind Russell Westbrook and averaging 3.1 point and 3.7 assists.
While no longer much of a scoring threat, Rondo has always been a willing facilitator and has become known for making the right play, as well as making constant hustle plays. He entered the health and safety protocol at the beginning of the week — and will therefore need to be cleared before he can join the Cavs.
Valentine, 28, is 6-foot-4 and averaging 2.9 points in 22 appearances in his first season in Cleveland. He will be a free agent if he goes 48 hours without be unclaimed on the waiver wire, though he’d be ineligible to return to the Cavs for one calendar year.