The Cleveland Cavaliers have agreed to acquire veteran guard Rajon Rondo in an exchange with the Los Angeles Lakers for guard Denzel Valentine, a person familiar with the negotiations said. The Associated Press on Fridays.
The Cavs needed an experienced guard to continue their good start after losing Ricky Rubio to a late season knee injury. They will add Rondo once the deal is approved by the NBA, said the person who spoke on condition of anonymity because the teams have not yet had the required conference call with the league.
Four times All-Star, 35-year-old Rondo has averaged 3.1 points and 3.7 assists off the Lakers bench. It was his second stint with Los Angeles. He has been in the league’s health and safety protocols and will need to be cleared before joining the Cavs.
Valentine averaged just 9.3 minutes for the Cavs, who have been one of the most improved teams in the league this season. The 28-year-old signed a two-year deal with Cleveland in September.
The Lakers should forgo Valentine’s partially guaranteed deal to create a spot on the open roster.
The Cavs were forced to seek help in defense after Rubio, who played a major role in the team’s surprising breakthrough, tore his left anterior cruciate ligament Wednesday night in New Orleans.
Rubio was an invaluable leader and mentor to Cleveland’s young players. He also played at a high level as Darius Garland’s backup.
The Cavs are hoping that Rondo can give them many of the same attributes and keep their season in the right direction.