Even when their respective teams were vicious rivals, Rajon Rondo often gave LeBron James high praise.
He’ll now be giving him the ball.
A person with knowledge of the negotiations confirmed the Associated Press that Rondo had agreed to sign a one-year contract with the Los Angeles Lakers. The person spokeon condition of anonymity because the deal is not finalized.
So in less than 24 hours, not only did the Lakers lure James out of Cleveland — but added two players who were longtime antagonists in his annual quest to win the Eastern Conference, first by agreeing to a deal with Lance Stephenson on Sunday night and then moving Monday to convince Rondo to join what will be his sixth NBA franchise.
James is back on vacation while the Lakers are busy building a roster around him.
“For him, it’s just business as usual,” Lakers legend Kobe Bryant said of James during a Monday appearance on ESPN’s “The Jump.” “He’ll come to work. He’ll work hard every single day. I’m really excited for our young players, because they get a chance to watch him work up close and so I think that speeds up their learning curve. … I think it’s just important for ’Bron just to be himself and continue doing what he’s been doing.”
After just over $1 billion in new contracts were agreed upon starting late Saturday night and through the official first day of free agency Sunday — with James going to the Lakers, Kevin Durant staying in Golden State, Chris Paul staying in Houston and Paul George staying in Oklahoma City, among other news — things predictably cooled off a bit for Day 2.
It was still a big day for some guys, including Derrick Favors, who agreed on a $36 million, two-year deal to stay with Utah. Upon hearing that news, his teammates Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert reacted by quickly posting similar requests on Twitter — that being that Favors finally grabs a dinner check.
He can do that now, and then some.
JJ Redick is back with the Philadelphia 76ers, agreeing to a one-year deal worth about $12 million. Redick averaged 17.1 points and shot 42 percent from 3-point range last season with Philadelphia, when he made $23 million.
With James out of the Eastern Conference, Philadelphia believes it can make a run at getting to the NBA Finals. So does Boston — which, coincidentally, gave away the No. 9 jersey that Rondo used to wear there Monday by completing the long-expected signing of Brad Wanamaker, a guard who comes to Boston after spending the last seven seasons in Europe.
Memphis signs Jackson
The Memphis Grizzlies have signed first-round draft pick Jaren Jackson Jr., a 6-foot-11 forward from Michigan State. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.
Jackson, the fourth overall pick in the draft, averaged 10.9 points, 5.8 rebounds, 1.1 assists and 21.8 minutes in his lone season at Michigan State. His 3.03 blocks per game ranked seventh nationally.
Jackson and former Ohio State center Greg Oden are the only Big Ten players ever to be named the conference’s freshman of the year and defensive player of the year in the same season.
Jackson is the highest-drafted Michigan State player since 1979, when Magic Johnson went first and Greg Kelser went fourth. Jackson’s father, Jaren Jackson Sr., had a 12-year NBA career and played on the San Antonio Spurs’ 1999 NBA championship team.
Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo is the cover athlete for the NBA 2K19 standard edition video game. The two-time NBA All-Star known as the “Greek Freek” is the first international player to be featured on the cover.
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