You knew the Celtics would have plenty of competition to sign free agent-to-be Rajon Rondo this summer. Now, it appears the Los Angeles Lakers will be one of the suitors that the Celtics have to contend with, according to a new report from Ramona Shelbourne of ESPN.com
That revelation comes after Rajon Rondo spent time sharing a breakfast with Kobe Bryant on Thursday morning in Boston. The meeting raised some eyebrows across the region, but was merely a social visit, Shelbourne also reported.
The innocent visit among “friends” does not change the fact that the Lakers apparently have Rondo high on their shopping list once free agency hits next summer. Shelbourne also reports that the Lakers had a quick chat with the Celtics about a Rondo trade dating back to last summer.
While there are no active talks between the two franchises involving a trade for Rondo, sources said the teams did have a brief discussion a few months ago. It’s not clear which team initiated the call. Rondo will be a free agent this summer, and sources stressed that the Celtics would prefer to re-sign him. Their willingness to engage in talks regarding Rondo is merely informational at this point, sources said.
The Lakers’ interest in targeting a player like Rondo should come as no surprise to Celtics fans. The team needs some top talent to pair with Bryant in LA, and the superstar guard has raved about the Celtics’ point guard in interviews in recent years.
After striking out in free agency last summer in their attempts to sign big names like LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony, a player like Rondo would be the kind of notable name that would help make the Lakers a competitive and appealing destination once again.
The Lakers also reportedly targeted Rondo in a trade back in the winter of 2012, but those talks went nowhere after refusing to part with Boston’s asking price of Pau Gasol.
All in all, these developments add another layer of intrigue to the “what will the Celtics do with Rondo?” soap opera that will last up until February’s NBA trade deadline at the very least. Boston fans can rest easy knowing that it is highly unlikely the Celtics will deal the point guard to their rival in-season, since the Lakers simply don’t have the attractive trade assets to make the deal at this point.