Lakers make offer for Rajon Rondo, according to report
The Rajon Rondo sweepstakes isn’t just limited to teams in Texas. The Los Angeles Lakers have reportedly offered the Boston Celtics multiple draft picks and Steve Nash’s expiring contract in a proposed trade for Rondo, according to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne.
The Lakers have reportedly coveted Rondo for a while, placing him atop their list of free agent targets this summer. Kobe Bryant is also close with Rondo, as referenced by both in colorful fashion over the years. So, the interest now in Rondo after he’s reportedly gone back on the trade block is no surprise. A straight-up swap of Rondo for Nash and draft picks works with the salary cap.
The suggestion of “multiple picks” is a bit of a misnomer, though. The Lakers cannot trade their own first-round pick this year because it goes to the Phoenix Suns unless it’s in the top five. Los Angeles has a first-round pick from the Rockets for taking on Jeremy Lin and does possess its own first-round pick in 2016, but its 2017 first-round pick is headed to the Magic as one last vestige of the Dwight Howard trade. The Lakers also don’t have a second-round pick this season, though they do in 2016 and 2017.
The Lakers therefore only have four total draft picks under their control in the next four years, and not all of those picks are even tradeable. NBA rules prohibit teams from sending away first-round picks in consecutive future drafts, though teams are allowed to deal their own first-round pick two years in a row if they possess a pick from another team. In other words: the Lakers can only trade this year’s first-round pick from the Rockets. They can’t trade the 2016 pick or their 2018 pick because they already traded the 2017 pick. So, the next year the Lakers can trade a first-round pick after that is 2019.
That may not be relevant anyway in the end. Thanks in large part to the Paul Pierce/Kevin Garnett blockbuster in 2013, the Celtics already have plenty of draft picks — five first-rounders in the next two years plus an option to swap with Brooklyn in 2017, to be exact. They may be looking for actual players instead of future assets, and the Lakers don’t have many good ones to trade. It remains to be seen if Boston actually adopts that stance on Rondo, though.