The Los Angeles Lakers announced Friday that they've signed guard Rajon Rondo, adding a guard with playoff experience and an NBA title to a team with three-time league champ LeBron James. They also made official the re-signing of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, the Lakers' starting shooting guard last season, official.
Terms of the deals were not released, but ESPN reported that they are both one-year contracts worth $9 million for Rondo and $12 million for Caldwell-Pope.
"We are thrilled to have Rajon bring his off-the-charts basketball IQ to the Lakers," said Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka. "He has a proven ability to play at an elite level during playoff and championship runs, and that is a highly valued skill. Rajon is also respected around the NBA as an extremely hard worker and relentless competitor and that mentality is key to how we want build our roster."
Rondo's signing leaves the future of top 2017 draft pick Lonzo Ball up in the air. They two will likely compete for playing time in a Lakers lineup that's in for a significant shake-up. James agreed to a four-year, $154 million contract with LA, marking the third time in eight years that the 33-year-old superstar has changed teams.
Rondo was part of a Boston Celtics team that defeated Los Angeles for the 2008 NBA title. He has since had an up-and-down career that included stops in Dallas, Sacramento, Chicago and New Orleans.
The Lakers were reportedly interested in signing Rondo last summer, but ultimately passed on him and signed Caldwell-Pope instead. Rondo eventually took a one-year deal with the New Orleans Pelicans. His stellar play in the 2018 playoffs helped the Pelicans to a shocking first-round sweep of the Portland Trail Blazers.
Caldwell-Pope started 74 games for the Lakers in 2017-18, averaging 13 points, five rebounds and two assists per game. His .426 field goal percentage and .383 three-point percentage both marked career highs.
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"We are excited to bring KCP back," Pelinka said. "He is a true 'two-way' player, which is very important for our team DNA. We think he will multiply his successes from last year as we move forward with roster continuity."
Caldwell-Pope struggled in the early part of last season, especially in December when he spent time in a state work-release program due to a previous probation violation. In the season's second half, however, he excelled, never having a three-point percentage below .400 in any month from January on.
Caldwell-Pope spent his first four NBA seasons with the Detroit Pistons, who drafted him out of the University of Georiga in 2013. He will likely return to a starting role next season alongside either Ball or Rondo in the Lakers' backourt.