After signing a one-year contract with the Sacramento Kings, Rajon Rondo is soon set to become an unrestricted free agent. Despite a disappointing season in terms of wins and a possible rift between he and George Karl, Rondo is expected to hear out Sacramento’s offer this summer.
According to the Boston Globe, Rondo believes that his improved maturity helped him pull through the 33-win season he experienced with the Kings this past season.
“For me to be in that situation in my 10th year, what I’ve learned and grown from in the past, I was able to handle [the chaos]. I was able to handle it a lot better than maybe Year 4 or 5. A lot of people criticize and get on DeMarcus a lot, but the man is a very young man and he hasn’t had too many great vets around him to teach him how to become a better professional.”
From Rondo’s comments, it is clear that he took on the responsibility of being a mentor for DeMarcus Cousins, something he said had been missing throughout Cousins’ career. He spoke very positively of his relationship with Cousins, and it could be one of the selling points that Sacramento possesses as the Kings try to retain their starting point guard.
However, the environment was far from perfect in Rondo’s first year with the Kings according to ESPN.com.
“[There was] too much tension. I’ve never witnessed or experienced a thing like that in my 10-year career.”
Rajon Rondo: Kings Played With 'Too Much Tension' https://t.co/KiCtqMf8iP— SLAM Magazine (@SLAMonline) June 15, 2016
Rondo clearly had a rift with George Karl, who was relieved of his duties after the season. However, despite the tension in the Kings’ locker room, Rondo was still able to produce. Rondo averaged 12.2 points, 11.9 assists, and 6.2 rebounds in 36 minutes, according to Basketball-Reference. In Sacramento, he greatly improved his shooting from the perimeter, making 36.5 percent of his shots from behind the arc on 170 three-point attempts. Rondo’s improvement from behind the arc led to a significant improvement in his true shooting percentage, which rose 5.8 percent from the previous year.
Now, with Karl gone and Dave Joerger replacing him, Rondo may find the Kings to be an interesting option. He is clearly interested in continuing to play with Cousins, and Joerger had a good rapport with his players when head coach of the Memphis Grizzlies.
However, despite his ties with Sacramento, Rondo says that he will be surveying all of his options when free agency begins according to ESPN.com.
“[The Kings and I need to] come together and figure out if we can work, but if not, I’m always in, I’m open. I’m open this summer and I look forward to having a great career.”
For Rondo, this taking a look at all of his options makes complete sense. He signed a one-year deal with the Kings last summer so that he could showcase his talents and receive better contract offers with the salary cap exploding this summer. Now, with nearly every team in the league armed with significant amounts of cap space, Rondo will surely look to cash in on his production in Sacramento. Rondo is now 30-years-old, and this will most likely be the last substantial contract he receives in the NBA.
Ultimately, the Kings will need to address their point guard situation this summer. Sacramento can re-sign Rondo, but that may come at a hefty price tag given his name recognition. A team like the New York Knicks may be interested in Rondo given the team’s point guard position, pushing the price up even more. Another option for the Kings involves letting Rondo walk and allowing Darren Collison to take over, while signing a backup to solidify their depth at the position.
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