Report: Lakers trading Rajon Rondo to Cavaliers for Denzel Valentine
The Cavaliers are so desperate for a point guard to play behind (and, ideally, sometimes with) Darius Garland, they’re trading for someone who apparently has negative value on a minimum contract.
Cleveland – as expected – will trade for the Lakers’ Rajon Rondo, sending Denzel Valentine to Los Angeles.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
ESPN Sources: The Cavaliers have agreed to trade Denzel Valentine to the Lakers to acquire Rajon Rondo. The Lakers are expected to waive Valentine’s partially-guaranteed deal and create an open roster spot.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) December 31, 2021
Unless there’s another unreported element to this deal, it shows the Lakers couldn’t outright dump Rondo in a trade and completely clear his salary from their books. They have to take back Valentine’s unwanted money. If waiving Valentine today, Los Angeles will incur a $847,072 cap hit that’ll count against the luxury tax.
Still, that’s better than waiving Rondo (or another minimum-salary player) and taking a $1,669,178 cap hit.
Rondo theoretically fits the rough contours of a Rubio replacement in Cleveland – savvy veteran, good passer, improved 3-point shooting from poor to streaky, solid defensive reputation. But Rondo’s engagement on defense, where Rubio really helped the Cavs this year, has not been strong in years. Rondo’s scoring has devolved further at age 35.
There are reasons the Lakers are trading him for this return.
Stanley Johnson has helped the Lakers as a replacement player. With an open roster spot, they could sign him for the rest of the season.