Charles Krupa/Associated Press
The Chicago Bulls appeared to signal a rebuild when they traded Jimmy Butler during Thursday’s draft, and they could reportedly waive the 31-year-old Rajon Rondo before the 2017-18 campaign.
On Friday, K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune noted there hasn’t been an official decision on picking up Rondo’s $13.4 million option or waiving him for a $3 million guarantee.
However, Johnson cited sources saying the Bulls are considering waiving the point guard and then attempting to sign him again for less money. Johnson cautioned the Indiana Pacers and New Orleans Pelicans would have some interest after “Rondo restored his standing around the league with his professionalism and playoff performance.”
Rondo served as a postseason leader for Chicago and helped lead it to two wins in the first two games against the No. 1-seeded Boston Celtics with 11.5 points, 10.0 assists and 8.5 rebounds a night. However, he suffered an injury and had to watch his team lose the next four from the sidelines.
He didn’t resemble the four-time All-Star he was in his prime with 7.8 points per game during the regular season, but he flashed his potential as a triple-double threat in those two postseason contests. It isn’t much of a stretch to suggest the Bulls would have upset the Celtics had he remained healthy.
Rondo also demonstrated his own brand of leadership after Butler and Dwyane Wade criticized the Bulls in January. The point guard posted an image on Instagram of Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce from his days with the Boston Celtics and said “My vets would never go to the media. They would come to the team.”
In theory, a 31-year-old point guard doesn’t make much sense in the early stages of a rebuild, especially since the Bulls have Kris Dunn, Jerian Grant and Cameron Payne on the roster. While waiving Rondo would open up more playing time for the other options, bringing him back would give him the opportunity to show leadership and to help develop the younger players.
With the balancing act in mind—and the potential interest from other teams—Chicago has to decide on its point guard’s future as it moves forward in what has already been a busy offseason.