The Cleveland Cavaliers found their new backup point guard, Rajon Rondo‘s impact will be seen in multiple ways. After Ricky Rubio suffered a season-ending injury, the Cavs needed a quick solution for Rubio’s absence. Cleveland was once again dealing with poor backup point guard play behind their star, Darius Garland. Acquired in a three-team deal, the veteran point guard Rondo is the new backup guard for the Wine and Gold.
The Knicks have made the three-team trade official.
Draft rights to Wang Zhelin
Draft rights to Brad Newley
Rights to Louis Labeyrie
— Fred Katz (@FredKatz) January 3, 2022
Yet again, Koby Altman — the Cavs’ General Manager — found a bargain deal through trade. The Cavaliers traded only Denzel Valentine to gain Rondo. Valentine has struggled early in the season, providing little value. Plus, he is not a true point guard, while Rondo certainly is. At the moment, this seems like another tremendous trade for Cleveland. Rondo should be able to replace some of Rubio’s production, and ultimately, impact the Cavs in a big way.
The Potential Production of the New Cav, Rondo
The Cavaliers will still sorely miss Rubio for the remainder of the season. His scoring ability off the bench has been massive, and Rondo simply does not provide the same scoring potential at this point in his career. While Rondo is averaging only 16.1 minutes per game this year, he is shooting a measly 26.7% from three a career-low 32.4% from the floor. Clearly, Rondo’s return to the Lakers did not go as planned, explaining his sudden departure.
The 15-year vet has struggled, but that does not mean that will continue. A change of scenery could be just what Rondo needs. Besides scoring, the Kentucky product is certainly more capable of running Cleveland’s second unit compared to Kevin Pangos and Brandon Goodwin. Rondo is still an elite passer with a high basketball IQ. His scoring production will not make or break the Cavaliers, instead, it will be his distributing ability. Cleveland appears to have plenty of capable scorers right now, they simply needed the right guard to operate the second unit. Rondo seems to fit that bill, and his experience could further help Garland’s development.
The landing spot in Cleveland could work out well for Rondo. He has reportedly been positive on the deal and looks forward to a larger role.
Rondo is eager for the chance to play a bigger role with an ascending Cavaliers team in the absence of Ricky Rubio, sources said. He's been positive on the deal since it was presented to him as an option yesterday. https://t.co/7yg8F3PgED
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) December 31, 2021
If Rondo buys into what the Cavs are selling, he could be a big factor going forward.
Rondo’s Impact on the Cavaliers’ Roster
Not only will Rondo bring much-needed production, but he will also impact the roster. The Cavs have scrapped together Pangos and Goodwin as their point guards since Garland entered COVID protocols, followed by Rubio’s injury. Either Pangos or Goodwin could now be out with Rondo’s presence. Goodwin has been a solid emergency addition and seems to bring more to the table than Pangos. Although it is unlikely, the Cavaliers may want to keep Goodwin going forward, which could mean Pangos’ departure.
How this unfolds will be revealed in the coming days. Rondo has cleared the association’s protocols and will be with the team within the next week, hopefully. Furthermore, Garland has now returned off of COVID protocols. The Cavaliers will be near full strength very soon, and the impact of Rondo could be immediately seen.
Featured image courtesy of Chris Elise/Getty Images
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