Rajon Rondo: The Free Agent Knicks Should Stay Away From



Rajon Rondo, shown on the Dallas Mavericks, should not be a target for the New York Knicks this off season. (PHOTO COURTESY OF JOHN RHODES/FORT WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM VIA TNS)


The Knicks are expected to have more than $25 million to spend in free agency this summer, but the biggest key to going from a 17-65 team in 2014 to a potential playoff candidate next season is spending it wisely. Signing point guard Rajon Rondo would not accomplish that.

The move wouldn’t make sense for several reasons, but in the grand scheme of things, Rondo simply isn’t a good fit for the Knicks.

President Phil Jackson is nearly obsessed with the implementation of his “Triangle Offense,” which requires a point guard who is a willing passer and can knock down an open jump shot. Although Rondo has displayed that he is a willing passer in the past, getting good looks for future Hall of Famers Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce during his Championship years in Boston, he has never been able to shoot well. One of the principles of the Triangle Offense is starting your set down low or on the elbow with a big man, drawing a double team and passing to the open man for the three-pointer. For his career, however, Rondo has shot just .263 percent from behind the arc. This season, he shot just .332 percent from a distance 16 feet to the three-point line.

Also, Rondo’s immaturity and attitude have been questioned in the past. Since the Knicks traded away J.R. Smith because of his partying lifestyle and bad behavior off the court, it is unlikely that they would want to go out and bring a player of Rondo’s stature into the mix. Jackson has frequently mentioned “culture” when describing how he wants to build the franchise, and Rondo would likely compromise that.

When Rondo was traded to Dallas, everyone thought that it would be the best for both parties. Rondo wouldn’t have to wait during Boston’s rebuilding, and the Mavericks got the one player they felt they needed to put them over the top.

Surely a starting five of Rondo, Monta Ellis, Chandler Parsons, Dirk Nowitzki and Tyson Chandler was expected to compete for a title, but things didn’t work out accordingly. The Mavericks finished as the No. 7 seed in the Western Conference and are on the verge of being knocked out of the playoffs in the first round by their state-rival Houston Rockets. Additionally, Mavericks’ head coach Rick Carlisle, who is known for being able to manage locker room controversy and egos, has benched Rondo repeatedly down the stretch, and has ruled him out indefinitely for the rest of the playoffs.

The Mavericks gave up first and second-round draft picks to acquire Rondo, but it looks like he will just be a four month rental player and be on his merry way. Boston knew what they were doing by trading him, and if the Knicks have a clue, they will stay as far away as possible. His free agent value has plummeted, and he had one of the more lackluster seasons in the final year of his contract as any free agent-to-be in recent history.

UPDATE: The original article referred to J.R. Smith using his full name “Earl Joseph “J.R.” Smith III,” and the article has been changed to read “J.R. Smith.”