Rajon Rondo won a championship with the Boston Celtics about a decade ago; now that he has joined the Los Angeles Lakers, he plans to bring another title to the city and win a second one for himself.
Rondo has not hidden his mission with the Lakers whenever he’s been given the opportunity to share his goal in Los Angeles. He stated that he would do whatever the team needs to win another NBA Championship even if it means coming off the bench for younger players. There has been speculation recently about whether it was in the interest of the team for Lonzo Ball, a younger player and former second draft pick, to come off the bench for the 32-year-old Rondo.
Lakers General Manager Rob Pelinka said recently that the only guaranteed starter was LeBron James and other players would need to vie for starting positions in training camp. While that announcement might be perceived as a ploy to ramp up a competitive spirit among the team’s staff, it has been received with a general attitude of selflessness by the players. While Lonzo will reportedly undergo arthroscopic surgery on his left knee for a torn meniscus, effectively sidelining him for some games, Rondo thinks the decision on the starting role is inconsequential as long as he is able to help the organization achieve the ultimate objective.
“They have plans, obviously, me being here. Along with other guys they’ve brought in, along with this great young core that we have. So, I’m not so much caught up in the starting and things like that. I’m just caught up in winning the championship.”
Rondo was only restating a mission he made clear a little over a week ago when he told Tania Ganguli of the LA Times that he considers LeBron James the quintessential leader of the team and expects the team to rally round him as they embark on a quest for a championship.
“You put any team, any group of players around LeBron James, as he has done eight straight times, he goes to the Finals. My expectations are the exact same thing. Even with the Warriors adding DeMarcus Cousins and the Rockets being who they are, I think we fit right up there in the mix. It’s early, obviously, and I’m not promising anything, but at the end of the day, I expect to win. Nothing else.”
Rondo, however, considers his relationship with Ball as that of an experienced floor general providing mentorship on how to hold the ropes to lead a team to championship glory, seeing as they have similarities in their games.
“I’m excited to get a player that age and try to help him as much as I can; as far as understanding the game and getting his game up to speed as far as at a level, especially with the amount of pressure now that the organization has on him.”