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Home / Sport / The Clippers are interested in Laron Rondo, and the Lakers reportedly want him back

The Clippers are interested in Laron Rondo, and the Lakers reportedly want him back

Last offseason, the Lakers and the Clippers competed for Leonard in the free agency market. They may not have met on the court in the Western Conference Finals as most people predicted, but that doesn’t mean the two sides are already fighting each other. In 2020, the two set their sights on the same free agent point guard: Rajon Rondo.According to Mark Stein New York Times, The Clippers are interested in poaching Rondo from the Lakers, who also want him to come back.

Rondo has a player option of $2.7 million next season-raising his minimum wage for 2019-20 by 120%-but apparently expects that number to drop after a good postseason performance. Stein said that Rondo wants to test the market, which shows that his main goal is to deliver. So, who can give Rondo more money? Well, this is complicated. Technically, if the upper limit is last year̵

7;s 109 million US dollars, then both should be able to provide prices between 9 million and 10 million US dollars. How and why they will be able to do this, or why they cannot do so, depends on various other factors.

Let’s start with the Lakers. Since Rondo played in Los Angeles for two seasons, he enjoyed the “early bird right” with the Lakers. This means that the Lakers can pay him 175% of his salary for the 2019-20 season, or more relevantly, 105% of the league average salary. This was $9.3 million last season, so 105% of it was about $9.8 million. There are some caveats though. The deal signed with “Early Bird Rights” must last at least two seasons. So far, the Lakers have been avoiding offers that last until the 2021 offseason, when they may create cap space to pursue another star. There may be no guarantee that the second season will solve this problem, but if the Lakers prioritize improvement immediately before their ambitions in 2021, that will bring another difficulty.

The Lakers have two main ways to improve through free agent deals: mid-level exceptions for non-taxpayers and signing deals. This is their best chance of getting an entry-level player, but doing so will lead to a hard cap. Last season, this hard cap was approximately $139 million. If the Lakers are subject to a hard cap, there is almost no chance that they have the money to pay Rondo what he wants. If the Lakers choose to stay with Rondo, they will only be able to use the smaller, $5.7 million taxpayer mid-level exception to deal with free agents. Not bad, but not as influential as they want. Both methods have advantages and disadvantages. Which path the Lakers choose depends on how much progress they think they need to win in 2021 and how important it is to them to chase other stars.

Any decision that delays the Lakers is their effort to reduce salary. The Lakers have applied for an end-of-career exemption for the dead money owed to Rolle Deng, and they waived the extension clause before the 2018-19 season. They are unlikely to be exempted. If they do, this will reduce their books by approximately $5 million, which makes it easier to keep Rondo without affecting other plans.

The Clippers cannot be provided to Rondo like the Lakers. The most they can offer is the average salary brought by the non-taxpayer middle class exception, which is $9.3 million. Like the Lakers, they must also bear in mind the hard top. Marcus Morris and Montrezl Harrell are both free agents. It’s a bit simple, but the Clippers may be forced to take one of two routes. If they let one of these players go, they can use both the full MLE and the smaller $3.6 million biennial exception. If both are retained, it may be limited to the intermediate taxpayer exception.

Where their offer falls depends on the other actions of the Lakers and Clippers. In some cases, one party provides far more benefits than the other party. In some cases, both are doing their best to serve him, and in some cases, they must both underestimate him. We just don’t know until their other plans become clearer.

We can say with certainty that the Clippers are indeed a real threat to steal Rondo from the Lakers. Since they were together in Boston, he has kept in touch with Clippers coach Ty Lue and top basketball director Lawrence Frank. He does not have to relocate. Probably he wants to continue winning, the Clippers provided that way. LeBron James and Anthony Davis both like to play with Rondo and will definitely try to bring him back, but if money is put first, Rondo is likely to become the Clippers next season.

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