The breakup of the Chicago Bulls continues in earnest.
The team announced Friday that guards Rajon Rondo and Isaiah Canaan would both be waived, ending their tenure with the team.
Chicago Bulls have waived Rajon Rondo and Isaiah Canaan.
— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) June 30, 2017
Rondo is the big story here. The guard would have been due $13.4 million had he remained on the roster past Friday, and by waiving him now, they will only have to pay him off to the tune of $3 million. With Jimmy Butler out the door and the Bulls entering a full-scale rebuild, there was never any reason to keep him on the roster past the Friday deadline.
Rondo averaged 7.8 points and 6.7 assists per game in his lone season with Chicago, starting only 42 contests.
Attention will shift now to Dwyane Wade, who is a buyout candidate and will have suitors should that happen.
- Rajon Rondo
The Chicago Bulls would like to trade Rajon Rondo, but they have very limited time to accomplish that.
Rondo is set to make $13.4 million in the final year of his deal next season if he remains on the Bulls roster through Friday. However, the Bulls will only have to pay him $3 million if they renounce his rights before the end of the day. K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune expects the team to end up doing just that.
Before Jimmy Butler was traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Bulls said publicly that they want Rondo back and were planning to exercise his team option. According to Johnson, Chicago tried to include Rondo in some of the Butler trade scenarios but had no luck. Now, the 31-year-old point guard will likely be waived.
Rondo has been included in some recent trade proposals because of the way his contract is structured, including some larger scenarios with Butler before the deal with the Timberwolves materialized. Barring an unexpected trade opportunity materializing Friday, expect Rondo to be waived.
Sources said the Bulls and Rondo’s representatives discussed re-signing the veteran guard at a lower salary. But that’s a long shot scenario.
Dwyane Wade is likely to exercise his $23.8 million player option for next season, but that decision seems strictly financial. There’s a chance he could enter into a buyout discussion with the Bulls, but the team has said they are operating under the assumption that he will be on the roster next season.
The Bulls are clearly trending toward a complete rebuild with younger players like Kris Dunn and Cameron Payne. While Rondo looked like his old self before fracturing his thumb in the playoffs, his tenure in Chicago hasn’t exactly been free of drama. A parting of ways makes sense.
The Chicago Bulls may be about to blow it all up.
Sam Amick of USA Today reported that, in light of the Jimmy Butler trade, the Bulls have not yet approached Rajon Rondo about a buyout, but it is “a possibility.”
No discussion yet of a Rajon Rondo buyout with the Bulls after the Jimmy Butler trade, I'm told, but it's clearly a possibility.
— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) June 23, 2017
In addition, despite earlier reports, Dwyane Wade will opt into the second year of his deal and take his $24 million.
Dwyane Wade is still taking his player option for $23.8 million next season, according to sources. The Jimmy Butler trade affects nothing
— Vincent Goodwill (@vgoodwill) June 23, 2017
The Bulls will have some decisions to make. Rondo has a team option with a $3 million buyout, while Wade has no interest in being part of a rebuilding effort at this stage of his career. The Bulls are clearly trending that direction, though, so there will be a lot of talk about buyouts and trades in the days and weeks to come.
There was some brief optimism on Tuesday that Rajon Rondo may be able to play in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Boston Celtics, but the Chicago Bulls point guard is not ready to return.
After having another X-ray on his fractured right thumb Tuesday night, Rondo said Wednesday that he is still a no-go.
Rondo said he's not playing tonight. He had another x-ray last night. Bone is still the same.
— Jay King (@ByJayKing) April 26, 2017
Rondo: "I think I'm Wolverine but it hasn't actually healed."
— Jay King (@ByJayKing) April 26, 2017
The Bulls could desperately use Rondo back, as they were a totally different team in Game 3 and Game 4 after jumping out to a 2-0 series lead with Rondo on the floor. With Game 5 in Boston and the Celtics having stolen back momentum, Chicago could be in serious trouble.
Rajon Rondo will try to play in Game 5 of the Chicago Bulls’ playoff series with the Boston Celtics, according to a report.
Rondo injured his thumb during Game 2 of the Bulls’ series and has missed the last two games, both losses for Chicago. He was initially expected to miss a few weeks with a fractured thumb, but the point guard had his cast removed and was seen attempting some shots on Tuesday.
The Vertical’s Shams Charania now reports that Rondo will try to play in Wednesday’s playoff game.
Vertical Sources: Chicago's Rajon Rondo preparing to attempt to play in Game 5 against Boston. Final decision TBD, but there's chance.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) April 26, 2017
Rondo was a major factor in the two playoff games in which he participated. If he’s able to play in Game 5, that could potentially give Chicago a major boost.
The first-round series is tied 2-2.
The NBA apparently did not believe Rajon Rondo’s explanation for why he stuck his leg out near a Boston Celtics player during Game 3, as the Chicago Bulls point guard has been fined $25,000.
The league announced on Sunday that Rondo has been fined for attempting to trip Jae Crowder in the first quarter of Chicago’s loss to the Celtics.
Rajon Rondo fined $25,000 for Jae Crowder trip attempt. pic.twitter.com/IKNO4vWVwl
— Chris Forsberg (@ESPNForsberg) April 23, 2017
Rondo, who is out indefinitely with a fractured thumb, stuck his leg out while sitting on the bench after Crowder made a shot near the baseline. You can see the video here. Rondo later claimed he was simply stretching his legs, which he does from time to time since he once had surgery to repair a torn ACL.
The Celtics and Bulls will face off for Game 4 on Sunday evening.
Rajon Rondo was caught on video appearing to trip an opponent during Friday night’s playoff game between the Celtics and Bulls, and his explanation will blow you away.
The Chicago point guard, who is out with a thumb injury, was asked about the attempted trip after the game. His explanation was that he was just stretching out:
Bulls' Rajon Rondo denies trying to trip Celtics' Jae Crowder from the bench: "When you tear an ACL, your leg gets stiff on you." pic.twitter.com/OAjkWXYLTK
— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) April 22, 2017
Here’s video of the trip. It’s interesting that he didn’t even deny it.
Rondo’s Bulls lost the game 104-87 but still lead the series 2-1. We’ll see if the league buys his explanation or if they end up fining him instead.