Rondo explains how Lakers were affected by Davis rumours & LeBron James
Rajon Rondo said the Los Angeles Lakers' pursuit of New Orleans Pelicans star Anthony Davis reportedly at the request of LeBron James had a serious effect on some players.
The Lakers were desperate to bring Davis to Los Angeles via a trade in 2018-19, however, the storied NBA franchise were unsuccessful as they missed the playoffs for a sixth consecutive season.
Among the names mentioned in the potential Davis trade were Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, and Kyle Kuzma — all of whom were drafted by the Lakers in the last three years.
Rondo – who signed a one-year, $9million deal with the Lakers last offseason – was right in the middle of the trade rumours, indicating the team intended to scrap the roster in pursuit Davis.
"Every guy on our team, LeBron was their favourite player growing up," Rondo told Bleacher Report. "Everyone had the shoes, his jersey. You're the biggest fan in the world. It's like you're playing with MJ [Michael Jordna], and then you get there, and it's like your mom and dad, or the person that you looked up to and idolized, doesn't want you.
"And then to have that sitting in your gut, not knowing. Guys aren't at the age where they can have a man-to-man conversation versus texting you. Everybody wants to text you: 'How you doing? We cool?' People don't understand how to have a real conversation and talk out problems."
Coach & King pic.twitter.com/5WFpdVqI2J— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) June 4, 2019
Rondo added: "Even some of the old guys were affected. I can't say a name, but I remember me and the guy were on the bench for the Atlanta game right before the [All-Star] break. The guy was cussing and talking bad about the situation during the game. I was like: 'Snap out of it. That s*** is over with. We'll get through it.
"As vets, we have to move forward and not focus on what the young guys are focusing on. Set an example.' It was a little crazy to see a vet distraught over that."
Rondo though, said he was "numb" to the speculation, as he had been involved in trade rumours since his early days with the Boston Celtics.
The four-time All-Star joined the likes of other seasoned veterans on one-year rentals last year. Among them were JaVale McGee and Lance Stephenson. While the team were firmly in the playoff hunt on Christmas Day, James suffered a groin injury in a win against the Golden State Warriors that derailed the course of the season.
The drama in Los Angeles intensified when president of basketball operations Magic Johnson unexpectedly resigned from his front office position as the regular season wound down. But Rondo believes the Lakers handled adversity as well as they could.
"Biggest market, biggest media, you know what you're coming into with LeBron James on the team," Rondo said. "To me it wasn't as crazy. The way things ended, the way Magic exited, maybe. Things happen. You learn. ... I think we held it together as best as possible."
It is unclear who the Lakers will bring back after finishing with a 37-45 record in 2018-19. However, they are reportedly willing to pursue Davis again with members of their young core and the number four pick as bargaining chips.