Clippers acquire Rajon Rondo from Hawks for Lou Williams, picks, cash

In hopes of bolstering their point-guard depth, the Los Angeles Clippers turned to a steady veteran that has become increasingly valuable in the playoffs.

The Clippers acquired 14-year guard Rajon Rondo from the Atlanta Hawks for reserve guard Lou Williams, two second-round picks and cash, a person familiar with the deal confirmed to USA TODAY Sports. The person was granted anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss a deal that hasn’t been finalized.

The deal made sense for both what the Clippers and Hawks needed with their respective rosters.

The Clippers prioritized a pass-first point guard that has become reliable in the playoffs in Rondo. He helped the Los Angeles Lakers win an NBA championship last year by becoming increasingly valuable with his passing, defense and occasional scoring after spending most of the regular season mired with sub-par shooting performances and health issues.

Rajon Rondo was given the nickname "Playoff Rondo" because of his success in the postseason. (Photo: The Associated Press)

While Rondo has become a willing mentor in recent seasons for younger players, he also has the credibility and personality to hold star teammates accountable. That could become valuable for the Clippers’ stars in Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, which squandered a 3-1 playoff series lead to the Denver Nuggets in last year’s Western Conference semifinals partly because of inconsistent accountability and chemistry among stars and role players.

The current Clippers (23-16) rank third in the Western Conference, and have shown varying degrees of improved chemistry and emerging inconsistency under coach Tyronn Lue, who replaced Doc Rivers after he and the Clippers mutually parted ways last fall.

The Hawks wanted to add secondary scoring to complement the team’s young roster, headlined by point guard Trae Young. Williams, who spent most of his childhood in Atlanta, returns to a familiar place where he will be a fan favorite.

Williams has a different leadership approach than Rondo, which entails consistent scoring and having an inviting personality that could make his younger teammates feel more empowered. The Hawks (22-22) are ranked seventh in the Western Conference and have played more consistently after firing coach Lloyd Pierce last month and replacing him with assistant Nate McMillan.

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