Rajon Rondo opens up on how Anthony Davis rumors rattled the Lakers


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The Los Angeles Lakers’ season began to fall apart when LeBron James suffered a groin injury on Christmas Day against the Warriors, and the organization’s pursuit of Pelicans star Anthony Davis at the trade deadline in February caused major internal strife, according to reports.

James had said publicly that it would be “amazing” if Davis were to join the Lakers, and Magic Johnson reportedly offered everything the Lakers had to try and secure a deal. ESPN reported that then-Pelicans GM Dell Demps was stringing the Lakers along and never intended to trade Davis to LA – and Demps was fired soon after the deadline. Months later, Johnson quit the Lakers, but the team may be in an even better position to potentially land Davis after receiving the fourth pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.

In an interview with Bleacher Report, Lakers guard Rajon Rondo opened up on what was going on inside the Lakers’ locker room around the trade deadline, and it’s clear that the speculation over a potential trade had a major impact on a young Lakers team. According to Rondo, young Lakers players felt “rejected” by James, who many Lakers players grew up idolizing.

Via Bleacher Report:

“Every guy on our team, LeBron was their favorite player growing up,” Rondo says. “Everyone had the shoes, his jersey. You’re the biggest fan in the world. It’s like you’re playing with MJ, 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.”

Rondo said that even veteran players were bothered by the rumors, and recalled a time that one teammate was “cussing” about the situation in the middle of a game against the Hawks.

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“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 shit 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.”

The Lakers lost that game, 117-113, and James seemed to send a message to his teammates with his post-game comments.

Via ESPN:

“Some guys have never played a playoff game before,” James said. “You can’t teach them that. It’s very important to understand how important every game is, no matter who you’re playing or where you are.”

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