The Cleveland Cavaliers lost Ricky Rubio to a torn ACL this week.

That was a big loss for the Cavs and their playoff aspirations this year. Currently fifth in the East, Cleveland had relied on Rubio as a do-it-all veteran ballhandler, and Rubio had delivered, putting up 13.1 points, 6.6 assists, and 4.1 rebounds per game, while taking a lot of pressure off of Darius Garland.

Garland has thrived this season, but losing Rubio (and already without Colin Sexton) could certainly make it easier for opponents to key in on him as Cleveland makes their playoff push. Which makes today’s trade for a different veteran point guard with the initials “RR” an understandable choice.

Rondo has a minimal role in Los Angeles, just one of many veterans surrounding LeBron for an underwhelming Lakers team this year. The move makes sense for Cleveland, and for Rondo himself. As for the Lakers, if fans were hoping for some kind of future asset in return for Rondo, they’re probably ending 2021 disappointed.

Essentially the Lakers have found a way to clear a roster spot without being on the hook for salary implications or waiting until contract buyout season. Still, for Lakers fans that want to maintain hope, that open spot could portend another trade or addition of some kind. There’s a reason teams like to have those spots, after all.

But in the end, this trade is much more about Cleveland finding a stop-gap replacement for Rubio. It’s possible they end up bringing in another player closer to the deadline, but they probably couldn’t afford to go another month or so without adding immediate help, and other teams might not be ready to sell just yet. (Or sell at all; the league is full of buyers this year, a sign that the play-in games and flattened lottery odds have helped encourage teams to try.)

It’s a move that makes sense for both teams, even if the Lakers essentially got nothing in return.

About Jay Rigdon

Jay is a writer and editor for The Comeback, and a contributor at Awful Announcing. He is not a strong swimmer.