La — After becoming the very first LosAngeles Lakers player since Magic Johnson in 1989 to register 17 assists and five steals in a game, Rajon Rondo said he expected to stick around L.A. just a little longer.

“Absolutely,” Rondo told ESPN when asked when he wanted to come back to the Lakers next season. “Absolutely. I mean, the only real way we can go out is up.

“So, I actually don’t know what the future holds as far as the summer — when I return back, or that comes or if I really don’t come back. Those activities are outside of my hands. But at the exact same time, it’s really a fantastic company. I can not say enough about the team and the people who work here. They are really kind and helpful, so I wish to keep, if I could, help this company grow.”

Rondo reached his season high in assists in that a 129115 win within the Charlotte Hornets on Friday — the Lakers’ third success in their last four matches after being eliminated from postseason contention a week ago.

He is finishing out a yearlong, $9 million deal with the Lakers but said there were discussions between his agent Bill Duffy and the Lakers past summer about coming to L.A. on a multiyear commitment.

“We talked about this,” Rondo said. “Up to long term, not enjoy a six-year deal, but you know, I am just 33.”

As a result of a three-game suspension out of a fracas with the Houston Rockets at the Lakers’ home opener along with two hands injuries, Rondo has overlooked 34 of the Lakers’ 76 matches this season — one of the hands harms leaving a permanent scar once he underwent operation.

“S–, that’s only part of the game,” he said of the vestige of where he went under the knife.

Can that scar be described as a permanent reminder of the season with the Lakers unfolded?

“If I play another eight decades, no, however if I play one or two, I could remember it,” he said. “But that’s just part of it. I got it through. It’s a part of the struggle. Part of the grind. And it just happened for a reason.”

Rondo’s voice trailed off, until his face flashed a sly grin.

“I actually don’t know what [that reason is]. … But the man upstairs, you know, he has a whole great deal to do with this,” Rondo said.

Rondo was credited with keeping the Lakers on track, even though the play offs are out of the question.

“The youth look up to us, look at us as super heroes sometimes, so in order to get that fun and joy we hope it goes to all those guys and to the kids that look up to us,” LeBron James said of the Lakers’ attitude contrary to the Hornets. “Rondohis energy and him just having fun along with being the best choice he could be [is invaluable].”

And Lakers coach Luke Walton echoed James when asked regarding his purpose guard this week.

“His leadership was amazing,” Walton said. “He wants to play all the time. I think he sets a wonderful example for the younger guys and he’s watching film before every game, throughout matches. Offdays he’s in the gym daily working on his craft, analyzing his rival. … It’s great to get that around whenever you have as many young guys with their own eyes on everything, learning from everything.”

He’s missed too many matches to make up for the leaderboard, but Rondo’s 7.9 assists per game average ranks him fifth in the league — tied using Atlanta Hawks newcomer Trae Young.

Rondo moved in to 19th in alltime aids this week, passing Guy Rodgers, and is 16 from passing Bob Cousy (6,955) to get 18th.

“I Will make an effort to reflect a little bit longer,” Rondo said of this accomplishment. “Obviously I am older today. However, like I saidI plan on playing the following four, five years and when you’ve played long, things like that happen. With the ball being in my hands, me being a point guard, led the league a couple years in aids. These kind of things just happen. My principal focus is obviously getting back to the playoffs and also being a competitor.”


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