Cleveland Cavaliers Acquire Veteran Rajon Rondo in 3-Team Trade

Rajon Rondo (9) with the Chicago Bulls in 2017
Rajon Rondo (9) with the Chicago Bulls in 2017. Photo by Stephen Lew/CSM/REX/Shutterstock (8587733q)

After losing point guard Ricky Rubio to a season-ending ACL injury, the Cleveland Cavaliers moved quickly to add some experience to their backcourt. On Monday, the team announced that they had acquired veteran guard Rajon Rondo in a three-team trade that also involved the Los Angeles Lakers and the New York Knicks.

The Knicks will receive guard Denzel Valentine from the Cavs and cash considerations and draft rights to Wang Zhelin and Brad Newley from the Lakers as part of the trade. On the other hand, the LA team will get the draft rights to Louis Labeyrie.

Rondo returned to the Lakers in the offseason after splitting 2020-21 between the Atlanta Hawks and the LA Clippers. However, the 35-year-old saw limited action in Los Angeles, playing in just 18 games and 3.1 points and 3.7 assists per contest.

The Cavaliers were highly motivated to do this deal, especially since the loss of Rubio left them without a veteran presence on the bench. Cleveland has exceeded expectations in 2021-22 and is currently fifth in Eastern Conference with a 21-16 record. Rondo is expected to play a significant role for the team moving forward, and the Cavs believe he will help them continue to push for the playoffs.

On the other hand, the Lakers did the deal as Rondo dropped out of rotation, and it was unlikely he would crack it again anytime soon. His departure opens up a roster spot for the team, which they will most likely use to sign forward Stanley Johnson.

Finally, the Knicks probably wanted to see whether they could get something out of Valentine, who averaged 2.9 points and 1.7 rebounds with Cleveland this season. If not, they can move away from him at no cost considering he is on the partially-guaranteed deal.