Knicks trade for Denzel Valentine as part of Lakers-Cavs Rajon Rondo deal

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The Rajon Rondo trade between the Los Angeles Lakers and Cleveland Cavaliers got a little bigger after the Knicks trade for Denzel Valentine. 

It’s been a rather quiet transactional front so far in the NBA this season. While teams struggle to deal with how to properly handle COVID-19 without changing the rules on everyone, deals between teams have been relatively nonexistent thus far.

That doesn’t mean we haven’t had some wheeling and dealing to dig into.

Before the start of the New Year, the Los Angeles Lakers made the first of what could be a handful of moves to try and turn its season around. Rajon Rondo was shipped off to the Cleveland Cavaliers in exchange for what amounts to an open roster spot for Los Angeles to fill however it pleases.

In return, the Cavs sent Denzel Valentine off to the Lakers but that won’t be his final destination. Since the Lakers wanted an open roster spot after moving Rondo, the plan was to buy out Valentine’s deal and release him.

That’s when the New York Knicks entered the chat.

Knicks trade for Denzel Valentine to help Lakers-Cavs deal

According to Shams Charina, the Knicks are taking Valentine off the Lakers’ hands as the third team in what is now a three deal.

“The Los Angeles Lakers are finalizing trading Denzel Valentine to the New York Knicks as part of what is now a three-team deal sending Rajon Rondo to the Cleveland Cavaliers,” Shams reported on Monday morning.

Tom Thibodeau has once again added a former Bulls player to his roster, albeit one he had no part in bringing to Chicago. Valentine began his NBA career as a first-round draft pick of the Chicago Bulls back in 2015-16, however, his first year in the league was Chicago’s first since firing Thibodeau after the 2015 season.

As far as how the deal helps the Lakers, according to Adrian Wojnarowski, there’s $4 million to be saved by adding the Knicks into the equation. New York is trading two draft-rights players to the Cavaliers but neither is expected to ever play in the NBA. This move will help both the Cavs and Lakers save money as part of the Rondo swap.

“The Knicks saved the Lakers approximately $4M in salary and luxury tax — and give LA the open roster spot that they wanted with the Rondo deal. Adding Valentine to deal gets his entire salary and tax off LA’s books,” Woj reported.

It’s also unclear whether the Knicks will even keep Valentine, or allow him to sign somewhere else. A decision on that front is expected to come by the end of the day.

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