Rondo sat out his first full game Saturday, then met with GM Gar Forman and executive vice president John Paxson afterward. Rondo told them the same thing he told reporters, which is that he will “absolutely” request a trade if he is not getting regular playing time.
Coach Fred Hoiberg may use Rondo as part of the reserve unit, but his time as a starter in Chicago appears to be over. If Rondo comes off the bench, Hoiberg may alter Dwyane Wade‘s minutes because he and Rondo haven’t effective when playing together.
Rondo and Wade were the Bulls’ major free agent acquisitions over the summer, but there were concerns that their games were too similar for them to work in tandem. Both like to drive to the basket, and neither is especially dangerous as a 3-point shooter. Talking to reporters Saturday, Rondo refused to criticize the way the roster was constructed.
“I’m not going to say that,” Rondo said. “Am I going to think it? I thought a lot the last 24 hours. I thought a lot all season. I’m trying to figure out a way to help this team grow and get some wins.”
Rondo has experienced run-ins with coaches during past stops in his NBA career, but Hoiberg said his behavior has been good apart from a one-game suspension for throwing a towel at associate head coach Jim Boylen. Hoiberg’s decision to bench Rondo stems from his production rather than off-court incidents.
Rondo is averaging 7.1 assists per game for the Bulls after leading the league with 11.7 per night last season with the Kings. His scoring average has also dropped from 11.9 to 7.2 points per game.
“I’m coming off not necessarily my best year but a pretty good year in Sacramento. I was able to do things a little bit differently,” Rondo said. “Obviously, coming here playing with Dwyane and Jimmy [Butler] I knew would be different. Fred and I talked in the beginning, said I would be able to call a lot of the plays. The flow of the game and throughout the season, things may change.”
Even if Rondo does request a deal, nothing is expected to happen until closer to the February 23d deadline, Johnson tweets. Rondo is making $14MM this season and nearly $13.4MM next season, but only $3MM of his 2017/18 salary is guaranteed before July 1st.