After being seen as a threat in the Eastern Conference for the most part of the season, the Cleveland Cavaliers sensationally fell from grace toward the latter part of the campaign. From being a Top-4 seed, in the end, the Cavs didn’t even make it to the playoffs.
Injuries were a major part of Cleveland’s downfall. For his part, Darius Garland may not have sustained an injury in the second half of the season, but it was clear that the heavy burden of carrying the Cavs for an extended period took its toll on the young star. According to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com, the team is actually looking at Rajon Rondo as one of the reasons behind Garland’s late-season decline:
Rondo was expected to help fill the on-court void and bring some much-needed stability to the second unit. But he played in just 21 of a possible 45 games because of a sprained toe followed by an ankle sprain. One member of the organization pointed to Rondo’s slower-than-expected recovery as a reason why All-Star guard Darius Garland was physically and mentally drained by the end of the season.
Rondo’s run with the Cavs was good when it lasted, but as the above report states, he wasn’t healthy enough to help the team when it mattered the most. Now that he’s a free agent, it doesn’t sound like Cleveland is interested in renewing his deal, and this recent report could be a major reason behind this decision.