Lakers, Cavaliers close to the trade that would send Rajon Rondo to Cleveland, compared


The Cleveland Cavaliers have been one of the best stories of this bizarre NBA season, and as the schedule turns to 2022, they sit fifth in the Eastern Conference at 20-14. But earlier this week, they suffered a major loss when veteran point guard Ricky Rubio fell with a ripped ACL that will keep him sidelined for the rest of the season.

Need another point guard – especially a veteran to help with their young team – the Cavaliers have started trade talks with the Los Angeles Lakers over Rajon Rondo, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic. Per Charania, the discussion is serious and ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski added that the agreement could be concluded as early as Friday.

Rondo, who entered the league’s health and safety protocols on December 26, has struggled so far with the Lakers, recording just 3.1 points and 3.7 assists per game with 32.4% shots from the field and 26.7% shots from a 3-point field. At this point in his career, he is not the most exciting acquisition and will be a downgrade on Rubio. But the Cavaliers don’t have too many options mid-season, and Rondo would at least bring similar qualities. He’s still a capable defender who would fit into the Cavaliers’ first defensive style and still be able to launch an attack.

But even though Rondo can bring in some of the same skills, it will be difficult for him to replicate Rubio’s impact. The Cavaliers have been much better with Rubio on the pitch this season.

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There are also the intangibles that Rubio brings in terms of leadership and camaraderie.

“I think this team are so close so it’s like an extended family member breaks down and it just pains you,” Kevin Love said after Rubio’s injury. “It hurts to see someone fall, but especially a guy like Ricky, who has been so consistent for us and who brings so much to this team for so many different reasons.”

If that deal goes through, it will be interesting to see if the Cavaliers can stay atop the Eastern Conference playoff table. They are also already without Collin Sexton for the season due to a torn meniscus, which will put additional responsibility on young goalkeeper Darius Garland to lead the way in the backcourt.

As for the Lakers, it’s no surprise that they are looking to move Rondo. Not only has he played poorly this season, but he doesn’t fit on this list. Moving it will open up a spot on the roster that they could use on another shooter or on a greater depth of the frontcourt.

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