Has the Rajon Rondo experiment come to an end for the Chicago Bulls?
That question is on the minds of several Bulls’ fans as the NBA season kicks into high gear. Several NBA trade rumors have risen to the surface regarding Rondo and possible destinations, but will the Bulls be able to find a suitor?
Before signing with the Chicago Bulls, it was revealed by NESN that Rajon Rondo wanted to play for one of the New York-based teams. With both the New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets involved, Rondo joining the Bulls was considered to be somewhat of a longshot. In fact, no one saw the supposedly rebuilding Chicago Bulls coming as far as a courtship of Rondo was concerned.
After acquiring point guard Jerian Grant in the trade that sent Derrick Rose to the Knicks (courtesy of Sports Illustrated), it was widely expected that the Bulls would stay young at the position. Signing Rajon Rondo did not appear to be reasonable at the time.
In hindsight, the Bulls signing Rondo made sense only after they landed Dwyane Wade in free agency. The Rondo and Wade combination was a clear experiment that could have either been boom or bust. Thus far, the Chicago Bulls’ has turned into a plodding attraction as Rondo’s uptempo style has not meshed with the rest of his Bulls’ teammates.
He also has had a clash with Jim Boylen, who is one of the Bulls’ assistant coaches and was handed a one-game suspension (courtesy of NBA.com) as a result of it. To Rondo’s credit, he has been a complete professional about everything, including his recent benching (courtesy of CSN Chicago).
“I’m gonna explode…No, I’m not. I’m gonna continue to work, get some work in, play some one on one. Take care of my body, lift and give these young guys as much advice while I’m on the bench.”
And now the Chicago Bulls are wishing to have a do-over.
After testing the waters on Rajon Rondo having a second consecutive bounce back season, the Chicago Bulls will be testing the trade market for him.
Unfortunately for the Bulls, there is not a big trade market for the 30-year-old point guard. That being said, the Chicago Bulls may not have much of a choice but to eat the remaining salary left on Rajon Rondo’s two-year contract.
The Bulls did themselves a favor by making the second year of Rondo’s contract non-guaranteed. That gave them some leverage in the event the experiment would fail. It may also be the saving grace in a possible trade, but moving Rajon Rondo in any deal will come at a price for the Chicago Bulls.
Despite Rondo’s deal only being guaranteed for the remainder of the season, any team that takes him will likely request that Bulls include a viable asset. That asset could be one of the younger Bulls’ players on the roster or a draft pick that the Bulls want to hold on to.
A common name that will be thrown out there in a package with Rajon Rondo will be power forward Bobby Portis.
Portis can become a good player if he ever gets consistent minutes. Those minutes are earmarked for Nikola Mirotic, who as of now has been a disappointment. With Mirotic getting the bulk of the backup minutes at power forward, Portis will likely receive minimal playing time.
What Portis has done so far does not warrant a great return in a trade, but if there is a team that likes him, something could happen.
Would a team take a package consisting of Rajon Rondo and Bobby Portis? Perhaps, although it depends on who the Chicago Bulls may want.
Jerian Grant could be included in a deal if the Bulls wanted an athletic player in return. There are two trade matches that the Bulls could explore if they choose to.
— Bulls Nation (@BullsNationNet) January 2, 2017
As it was previously reported by the Inquisitr, Phoenix Suns guard Brandon Knight is available. A trade involving Rondo, Portis, and a future draft pick could become the starting point for trade discussions between the Bulls and Suns.
The Suns could immediately waive Rajon Rondo and create some cap room for the offseason. With only a few teams that will have money to spend on free agency, the Suns could provide a great landing spot for prospective free agents. Getting Portis in return would give them a young player with a high motor who can learn under the tutelage of center Tyson Chandler.
The Bulls getting back Brandon Knight would give them a dynamic scorer in the backcourt. Albeit, the fit of Knight might be a questionable fit for the Bulls the way Rondo is. It is worth a try for the Bulls to kick the tires on a Brandon Knight trade using Rondo’s contract.
Another team who the Chicago Bulls can deal with are the Orlando Magic.
A potential trade between the Bulls and Magic would be a larger one. It could involve Rajon Rondo, Grant, Mirotic, and some draft picks. The Bulls could target power forward Serge Ibaka or point guard Elfrid Payton in return.
In getting Rondo, the Magic would receive a tough point guard who can help get their offense on track. There are a lot of frontcourt players on the Magic, and most of them are athletic and tailored for an uptempo offense.
With Payton handling the lead guard duties, the Magic play at a slower pace. Defense is not the problem. Getting players in the position to score is. One of the chief reasons why the Bulls’ experiment with Rajon Rondo has not worked is because of the lack of athleticism. The Magic have no such problem.
Nikola Mirotic is in desperate need for a change of scenery. He is a solid player, but he can be so much better in a city where the lights are not so bright and the expectations are lowered. An inclusion of Grant would only take place if the Bulls sought Payton in return.
As for what the Chicago Bulls could potentially get back, Serge Ibaka is a perfect fit for what they need. Ibaka is an athletic frontcourt player who can provide great rim protection and some offense. If the Bulls wanted Payton instead, he would fill the need of a defensive-minded guard with some upside.
There could be a few other trades that the Chicago Bulls may be able to explore, including the Philadelphia 76ers for Nerlens Noel.
As of now, the Bulls are in a pickle.
Rajon Rondo has a reputation around the league, and it is not a great one. Whether that is deserved or not, only the teams that he has played on truly know for sure.
Trading Rajon Rondo will require the Chicago Bulls to do something they typically do not do — make a bold move. Because the locker room may be in jeopardy, the Chicago Bulls might be bold and make a deal which could turn their season around.
[Featured Image by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images]