The Clippers and Hawks have come together for a Rajon Rondo trade.

Atlanta receives Lou Williams and two second-round picks for Rondo. This takes the former Celtic back to Los Angeles after winning the title with the Lakers last season. The Clippers land a much-needed point guard, but there is undeniable risk in this deal.

Rondo was a figure of criticism during the regular season last time round. Playoff Rondo was activated in the bubble, though, and he was arguably their third-best player as they romped through the Western Conference. The Clippers are banking on a similar uptick from Rondo this season.

Signing with the Hawks has not worked out as hoped. Injuries have meant he’s been in and out of the team, but Rondo hasn’t exactly impressed in his minutes. Depending on who you ask, Rondo has been somewhere between disappointing and awful this season.

The Hawks version of Rondo does not fix the Clippers’ issues. Playoff Rondo, though, can unlock the clutch offense, he can take playmaking responsibility off Paul George and Kawhi Leonard. The upside is huge for the Clippers. It’s just an alarming downside, however, made scarier by the $7.5 million on his contract for next season. Williams is on an expiring.

 
 
 
 

Without picks or many tradeable salaries, the Clips were destined for a quiet deadline. Kyle Lowry was never realistic. Perhaps the possibility of Rondo playing at the level he did for the Lakers in the bubble made him more appealing than George Hill.

Ty Lue has work to do with the Clippers. This has been another season of inconsistency, of poor performances and flashes of the ultra-talented juggernaut many expect them to be. For a locker room which struggled to develop chemistry last season, adding Rondo is a risk. He’s a divisive character.

It would be too grand to call this a make or break trade for the Clippers. It’s a significant moment in the future of this team, however. This could elevate them back into the inner-circle of contenders, but it could just as easily cause an implosion.

All eyes will be on Rondo’s performance level when he takes the court alongside Leonard, George and Patrick Beverley.

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