The Chicago Bulls have been dealt a major blow after getting off to a great start in their playoff series against the Boston Celtics, as Rajon Rondo will be sidelined indefinitely with a thumb injury.
The team announced on Friday that Rondo suffered a fractured thumb, and ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that the point guard will not need surgery.
Rajon Rondo will not need surgery on his fractured thumb, but he is out for tonight's Game 3 and indefinitely.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 21, 2017
Rondo’s absence could drastically change the Eastern Conference quarterfinals. While he has had his struggles during the regular season, Rondo lately has looked closer to the player who helped the Celtics win a championship in 2008. He had 12 points, six assists and eight rebounds in Chicago’s Game 1 win before posting 11 points, nine rebounds and a whopping 14 assists in Game 2.
The Bulls could have to alter their offensive approach without Rondo. He had looked like a true floor general in the first two games.
- Rajon Rondo
Rajon Rondo has a long history of stepping things up in the playoffs, and though most of the current members of the Boston Celtics weren’t with the organization with the point guard, they’re wary of what he can do.
Rondo has had an uneven season with the Chicago Bulls, but the current crop of Celtics, who are set to face him in the first round of the NBA Playoffs, know the lore and are expecting the best from Rondo.
“I’m a fan of the game. I know, whether he tries it or not, those big games he’s always gonna be ready for them,” Celtics point guard Isaiah Thomas said Friday, via ESPN’s Chris Forsberg. “He’s always gonna play his best [in big games]. And that’s just me watching him when I was younger and before I got in the NBA. You know, when it counts, he’s gonna be ready and he’s gonna perform. So we’ve got to slow him down and eliminate what he does best, and that’s getting everyone involved.”
Avery Bradley, the only Celtic who has been around long enough to have played with Rondo, concurred.
“Rondo’s like my brother. On the court, off the court, we’re brothers,” Bradley said. “It’s weird playing against him, going up against him, but I think I said it last game: I know he’s a true competitor and he’s going to bring his best game in the playoffs. So it’s going to be fun playing against him. Weird but fun.”
Rondo had a tumultuous season, averaging 7.8 points and 6.7 assists in a modest 26.7 minutes per game. He’s barely played in the playoffs since 2012, with only a brief stint with Dallas that saw him sent home early since then. His reputation precedes him, but he may struggle to live up to it.
Rajon Rondo definitely has his flopping down.
Rondo was leveled by DeMarcus Cousins on a screen during Sunday’s Pelicans-Bulls game, and he hit the deck as if he’d run into a brick wall:
I miss Rondo… pic.twitter.com/eXLgBdOpQ1
— Only In Boston (@OnlyInBOS) April 3, 2017
That happened with Chicago up 105-94 and five minutes left in the game. Rondo’s acting paid off, because he was hit with a technical foul.
They should have outlined Rondo’s body with chalk with the way he played dead. Rondo had 10, 9 and 9 in the 117-110 win.
Rajon Rondo is planning a big party to commemorate the 10-year anniversary of the Boston Celtics’ 2008 NBA title, and one prominent member of the team is not invited.
Sorry, Ray Allen.
Rondo told ESPN’s Marc J. Spears that he is putting together a vacation with his former Celtics teammates, and the consensus from the 2008 squad was to not reach out to Allen.
“I asked a couple of the guys. I got a no, a no head shake,” Rondo said.
Allen and Kevin Garnett came to Boston via trade during the 2007 offseason and joined Rondo and Paul Pierce in leading the team to its first NBA championship in 22 years. The team also reached the NBA Finals in 2010, ultimately losing to the Los Angeles Lakers.
In the summer of 2012, Allen took less money to join LeBron James, Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat. One of the reported reasons was that he wasn’t getting along with Rondo. Allen helped the Heat win one of their two titles with LeBron in 2013.
“It will be a long story about that, but it is what it is,” Rondo said. “I don’t know a good analogy to put this in. It just wasn’t the greatest separation. It wasn’t the greatest thing that could’ve happened to us as a team, a bond. We were at war with those guys [Miami]. To go with the enemy, that’s unheard-of in sports. Well, it’s not so unheard of. It’s damn near common now.
“The mindset we had. The guys on our team. You wouldn’t do anything like that. It makes you question that series in the Finals … Who were you for? You didn’t bleed green. People think we had a messed-up relationship. It’s not the greatest. But it’s not just me. I called and reached out to a couple of other vets and asked them what they wanted to do with the situation. They told me to stick with what we got [without Allen].”
For what it’s worth, Leon Powe — a role player with the 2008 Celtics — said his “preference” would be that Allen is invited. Another anonymous member of the team said he has no problem with Allen’s exclusion because “(Ray) left to the enemy.”
It is somewhat surprising that Rondo and some of his former teammates aren’t ready to bury the hatchet with Allen. You knew when Garnett made remarks like this years ago that Allen was persona non grata for a while, but typically time heals all wounds. Apparently not in this case.
The Chicago Bulls have lost five of their last six games to fall below .500 on the season, and no player on the team seems more frustrated about it than Rajon Rondo.
During a win over the Charlotte Hornets Monday night, Rondo was seen giving teammate Jimmy Butler an icy look following a defensive breakdown late in the game.
— Tas Melas (@TasMelas) March 14, 2017
Those emotions were subtle compared to the ones Rondo expressed after Sunday’s embarrassing blowout loss to the Boston Celtics. The Bulls hardly looked like they were trying in that game. Rondo played just 19 minutes and scored two points, and he was very open about his lack of playing time this season.
“I feel pretty good due to the [lack of] playing time,” Rondo said, per Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe. “You can look at it one of two ways, I look at it as [being] pissed off by not playing a lot, which I am. Or you can look at it as I’m benefiting, I’m healthy. I can play with my son.
“I’m not waking up at 3 or 4 in the morning with a lot of aches and pains at night.”
Rondo then spoke about how different things have been with the Bulls than how he envisioned them when he signed with the team last summer. He also made it clear he has not gotten along with head coach Fred Hoiberg.
“My perspective on things [has changed], I would love to be part of a winning tradition or winning culture,” Rondo said. “I thought I was going to get that here. The people up top are going in a different direction as far as experimenting. It [stinks] when you have the opportunity to make the playoffs and they want to go a different route.
“I’m looking for a straightforward coach. That’s what I’m looking forward to the most, sitting down with a coach. I want to develop a relationship and see what his goals are.”
Simply put, things are a mess in Chicago. If the report we heard about Butler’s paranoia a while back wasn’t enough to prove that, Rondo’s latest remarks certainly are.
The Chicago Bulls may not be divorcing mercurial guard Rajon Rondo just yet.
In a feature that ran on Wednesday, Bleacher Report’s Kevin Ding said that “no one should expect the Bulls to move [Rondo] in an admission of roster-building guilt before the Feb. 23 trade deadline.”
Rondo, who will turn 31 later this month, is having one of the worst years of his NBA career with averages of 6.7 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 6.6 assists in 27.3 minutes per game. He’s been relegated to the second unit and recently stirred up trouble with a scathing Instagram post critical of his teammates that had the Bulls considering severing ties with him outright.
But while earlier reports suggested that Chicago was actively shopping Rondo, he is only due $3 million in guaranteed money next season before his contract expires. Rondo also appears to be working well with some of the younger Bulls, so perhaps there are worse things they could do than die on Rondo Hill.
- Rajon Rondo
The Chicago Bulls were so put off by Rajon Rondo’s recent Instagram post that the team has contemplated cutting ties with him.
According to Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times, as of Thursday night, Bulls executives were giving serious thought to buying Rondo out of his contract and letting him walk.
Indications are that Rondo is unhappy with coaches and teammates, and a source indicated to Cowley that he is particularly frustrated with what he sees as favoritism from coach Fred Hoiberg toward star guards Dwyane Wade and Jimmy Butler.
If the Bulls pulled the trigger and dumped Rondo, they would be on the hook for his full $14 million salary this season and another $3 million for 2017-18.
If you haven’t seen the Instagram post in question, you can check it out here. Needless to say, there appears to be heightened tension in the Chicago locker room at this point.