Bulls guard Rajon Rondo ripped teammates Dwyane Wade and Jimmy Butler in an Instagram post for their leadership qualities after they criticized younger teammates following a home loss to the Hawks on Wednesday. The Instagram post was retweeted by numerous media members, including Bulls beat writer Nick Friedell of ESPN.com.
Without naming Wade and Butler in the post, Rondo called out the duo for voicing their frustration about their teammates’ desire, effort and decision-making to the media after Chicago squandered a late lead to Atlanta. Rondo pointed to his early NBA years, when he was a young point guard, and said “my vets” — the post included a picture of former Celtics duo Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett — would not have gone public with those criticisms. He also questioned the Bulls’ duo work habits and approach to adversity.
Here is the full post:
“My vets would never go to the media. They would come to the team. My vets didn’t pick and choose when they wanted to bring it. They brought it every time they stepped in the gym, whether it was practice or a game. They didn’t take days off. My vets didn’t care about their numbers. My vets played for the team. When we lost, they wouldn’t blame us. They took responsibility and got in the gym. They showed the young guys what it meant to work. Even in Boston when we had the best record in the league, if we lost a game, you could hear a pin drop on the bus. They showed us the seriousness of the game. My vets didn’t have an influence on the coaching staff. They couldn’t change the plan because it didn’t work for them. I played under one of the greatest coaches, and he held everyone accountable. It takes 1-15 to win. When you isolate everyone, you can’t win consistently. I may be a lot of things, but I’m not a bad teammate. My goal is to pass what I learned along. The young guys work. They show up. They don’t deserve blame. If anything is questionable, it’s the leadership.”
Rondo, who has seen his playing time diminish after beginning the year as the team’s starting point guard, figuratively threw a stick of dynamite on an already volatile situation. Rondo aligned with his younger teammates at the expense of undermining Wade and Butler.
It will be interesting to see how Bulls management handles the controversy. Rondo is making a guaranteed $14MM but is now sharing time with Jerian Grant and Michael Carter-Williams. His $13.4MM salary for next season is not guaranteed and the front office could decide to cut him loose sooner rather than later, given his public stance on the team’s leadership.