After acquiring star point guard Russell Westbrook, the Los Angeles Lakers dove headfirst into building a supporting cast filled with veteran talent. The pathway will likely lead to bringing back point guard Rajon Rondo. The move will also require Rondo and Westbrook to squash their previous beef.
Lakers are leaning toward bringing back Rajon Rondo
Since the Lakers‘ early playoff exit, the team revamped the roster.
As the front office adds the final few pieces ahead of training camp, it appears headed to bringing Rondo back. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the 35-year-old agreed to a buyout with the Memphis Grizzlies days after being traded from the Los Angeles Clippers.
Rondo spent two years with the Lakers, where he became a crucial factor off the bench during the 2020 NBA title run. The Lakers hope he can fill the void as a ball-handling guard who can lead the second unit.
Before Rondo begins his second stint in Los Angeles, he will need to mend fences with Westbrook.
Rajon Rondo quickly needs to crush his beef with Russell Westbrook if he rejoins the Lakers
The strong possibility of Rondo rejoining the Lakers puts his previous issues with Westbrook at the forefront.
Over the last year, the two have gotten into a pair of on-court conflicts. It began in Game 5 of the close-out playoff series win over the Houston Rockets in the 2020 Orlando Bubble as Rondo’s brother, William Rondo, started chirping at the former league MVP.
According to Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated, Rondo’s brother called Westbrook “trash” and gave the star guard the “Damian Lillard” wave when he asked what he said. Rondo defended his sibling after the game, voicing that he didn’t do anything crazy or out of line.
Meanwhile, Westbrook wasn’t on the same wave link as he didn’t take too kindly to Rondo’s brother’s words. He voiced that family at the NBA Bubble games weren’t supposed to jump into the trash-talking conversations.
The conflict continued into this past season as the two guards got into it again. In a game in January, Westbrook picked up a second technical foul after shoving Rondo to position himself to secure a rebound. After the game, Westbrook voiced that he “stooped” down to Rondo’s level, leading to his ejection.
“I mean, honestly, it’s more on me,” Westbrook said via CBS Sports. “I cannot allow myself to stoop down to anybody’s level. That’s not my character, who I am, so I gotta be better in regards to trash-talking when things are said.”
Although there will be some awkward conversations between them, the ultimate goal of competing for an NBA title should brush the beef aside. It’s not the first time two players who didn’t like each other ended up playing on the same team, and it won’t be the last.
Los Angeles is eyeing an NBA title push
The potential hurdle internal aside, the Lakers have methodically constructed a team that could put forth a special season ahead.
Westbrook provides the Lakers with a legitimate Big 3 while the front office added a strong veteran presence filled with shooting and versatile defenders. The detractors are already pointing to the team’s age and the former league MVP’s fit alongside James and Davis.
However, the team has tremendous potential to become the clear-cut NBA title favorites due to the balanced roster. Time will tell if the revamped group of talent will be enough to guide the franchise to an 18th championship.