Rajon Rondo trade: Lakers offer Cavaliers veteran guard for Denzel Valentine, reports show


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 struck a deal with the Los Angeles Lakers to acquire Rajon Rondo, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic. Cleveland sends Denzel Valentine to Los Angeles for Rondo, by Adrian Wojnarowski from ESPN. The Lakers should give up on Valentine to create an open roster.

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 will at least bring similar qualities. He is still a competent defender who will fit into the Cavaliers’ first defensive style and will always be able to launch an attack.

Rondo is excited about the chance to play a bigger role with an emerging Cavs squad, by Wojnarowski. He would have viewed the trade in a positive light since it was mentioned to him.

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.”

Now that Rondo joins the squad, 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 moved Rondo. Not only has he played poorly this season, but he doesn’t fit on this list. Moving it opens 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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