Potential Positives of the Rondo Signing

Potential Positives of the Rondo Signing

By: Michael Walton II

The Chicago Bulls have entered the post-Derrick Rose era with a flurry of moves that have left many fans trying to figure out exactly what Gar Forman and John Paxson are trying to accomplish with their team. As signified by the two-year deal with Rajon Rondo, the Bulls are a franchise that refuses to let themselves drop to the bottom. This means that Chicago’s management would prefer to be in the dreaded middle instead of tanking to acquire a high-lottery pick.

With that in mind, this move does have room for some upside. Rondo comes to the Bulls on a two-year deal that is reported to be only partially guaranteed in the second year.


Partial guarantee on year 2 with Rondo, so basically a one year, make good rental

— Vincent Goodwill (@vgoodwill) July 3, 2016


Rondo’s mutual option means the Bulls and Rondo each have the option after year 1 to walk away or continue. Player and team option

— Vincent Goodwill (@vgoodwill) July 3, 2016


With the “mutual option”, Rondo and Bulls working on the language as far as dates/guarantees. I’ll clarify when given…clarity

— Vincent Goodwill (@vgoodwill) July 4, 2016


Though initial reports suggested the move was fully guaranteed, this move allows the Bulls to retain their long-term financial flexibility while adding a starting point guard, who, for all of his flaws, was atop the remaining point guard crop of free agents. He’s certainly an upgrade over any flotsam currently on the roster.

Under Fred Hoiberg the Bulls are supposed to play with pace. Hoiberg wants his squad to use up a ton of possessions in order to tire out the opposition and create easy offense. And while Rondo is not a space-the-floor shooter, his incredible playmaking ability will help him orchestrate the offense. This is a much needed skill for a Bulls team that last year appeared to be disorganized much of the time on offense.

Rondo comes from a Sacramento Kings team that just led the league in pace (102.24) and finished 11 ranks higher (Kings 14th, 103.3) than the Bulls (25th, 102.1) in Offensive Rating. This should present some relief for Hoiberg, whose main source of friction with Derrick Rose was Rose’s refusal to push the ball up the floor quickly.

Rondo is well-known as stubborn, even defiant at times, but his ability to raise the offensive game of his teammates is unquestioned. According to, Rondo’s teammates shot an effective field goal percentage of 54.3 percent off of his passes last year, 2.9 percent higher than the effective field goal shooting on passes from Rose. Rose also couldn’t seem to play his best ball at the same time as Butler, an issue that doesn’t figure to be a factor with the pass-first Rondo. Last season Rose and Butler combined for 632 assists on the season- Rondo had 839.

With Rondo and Butler pushing the ball the Bulls offense will surely improve, as shooters like Nikola Mirotic and Doug McDermott will be served on-point passes unlike any they have received so far. Having a capable floor general like Rondo should also help Bobby Portis sculpt his hyper-active presence from last year into a serious pick-and-roll/pop threat.

There are some bigger question marks with this move, however, including Rondo’s defensive willingness and shooting. Last year, Rondo’s defensive rating was 107 compared to Rose’s 110, showing that, even if he continues to lack motivation on the defensive end, he is a slight upgrade over Rose. Known for his excessive gambling, Rondo had nearly 100 more steals than Rose last season, which could lead to an uptick in fast break opportunities, an area where the Bulls struggled mightily last year, scoring the third fewest fast break points per game.

Though Rondo has never been known as a shooter, he did notch a career-high in 36.5 percent on 3-pointers last season. Importantly, Rondo has never taken more than 12.2 FGAs per game in his career, which will give all the more shots to Butler and company.

After moving on from Rose, the Bulls have finally established their go-to, franchise player, even if they now have a peculiar supporting cast. Part of the reason Rose and Butler couldn’t work together is because of their similarity in play style; that they were both non-shooting, score-first attackers. Despite Rondo’s lack of shooting threat, his “true point-guard” qualities do fit better with Butler, in theory.

The Bulls waited for the free-agency market to thin out, and negotiated a reasonable contract with a veteran who will help uphold their place as a top rebounding team, set the tempo for the offense Hoiberg envisioned, and serve Butler some of the easiest buckets of his career.

Bulls fans may not be happy with a move that seems to be the basketball equivalent of treading water, but at the end of the day, this move needs to be evaluated as what it is cut and dry: a short-term, cost-efficient upgrade at point guard.


Follow @ZenMasterMike

Filed under: Uncategorized


Leave a comment
  • D Wade coming to Chicago.....please tell me this is not true.

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    It won't happen. If it does, it's time for torches and pitchforks.

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    It's true and I heard Ray Allen and Boozer are trying to make a comeback I bet that makes Burt and Ernie (err I mean Gar and Pax) all tingly just thinking about it.

  • In reply to Chad:

    Ok yeah you're right. This is a horseshit FO.

  • If the FO has vision they would consider acquiring Westbrook and maybe keeping Rhondo as the point guard, enabling Westbrook to be the shooting guard which allows Butler to be at his natural position of small forward. They could trade Taj along with other players and build around their new big three. Power forward,West of San Antonio last year is available and maybe a better offensive and defensive player than Taj

  • Let's remember how young and immature Rhondo was when the Celtics won that last Championship. Today he may see a new opportunity and a possible future in Chicago. The maturation process is a lot different for an athlete who has earned over 70 million dollars when he was just a kid, and today he may have grown up some. The Bulls may have picked up a gem if there is still any kind of leadership about the FO. Rhondo has great leadership qualities--just imagine him next to Butler and Westbrook. The Bulls have a bench, and all the Bulls would need are two solid rebounders and to give its bench more experience.

  • In reply to penwit1:

    Rondo has great leadership qualities??? Based on the fact that he quit on the Mavs mid playoffs less than two years ago and that he clashes with players and coaches at every stop I would say hell no.

  • I think the Rondo signing was a good move. Bulls fans always complain that the FO never goes after players unless they have a good attitude, nice guys. If the player is perceived to be a potential problem, they will not take a chance on him. Well, Rondo does have some baggage with him, but the deal made by the front office is a reasonable term contract for a decent player in a crazed salary free agent market. I know Derrick was traded and was not a free agent, but check out the following price paid these former Bulls players:
    (In millions) Next Yr Total Contract
    Derrick Rose. $21.3 $21.3
    Joakim Noah. 18.0. 72.0
    Paul Gasol. 15.0. 30.0
    E' Twaun Moore. 8.5. 34.0
    Luol Deng. 18.0. 72.0
    D. J. Augustin. 7.3. 29.0
    Total. $88.1
    Would you pay these 6 players over $88 million for next year??? I wouldn't. When you view the Rondo signing in this context, it is not a bad deal. Hopefully, Rondo will be able to set up a lot of open shots for our three point shooters next year. Go Bulls!

  • I think Rondo could work, but I'm not counting on it. I wonder if Hoiberg is going to be able to coach him. No matter what, it will be interesting!
    I'm not sure why everyone hates Wade so much (ok, maybe I do), but I hope they get a deal done. Wade was always a favorite of mine going back to the college days. The Bulls aren't winning anything soon anyway, so why not enjoy the show of Wade for the end of his career? I think he and Butler could be a good combo. Again, it would be very interesting!

  • Writer is straight from the Gar Forman GM school of 'banal and repetitious non-sequiturs'.
    A stream of unconscious nonsense designed to confuse rather than inform.

    Hope is NOT a plan...

    Nor will the 2016-2017 Chicago Bulls be interesting viewing unless you are fascinated by multi-car wrecks/accidents...

  • fb_avatar

    Rondo is back in the East. If the Bulls somehow land D. Wade in the backcourt with Rajon, and Jimmy Butler at the wing, Rondo could be back playing in the All Star game next Feb.

  • the way the nba has gone, you need a big 3 to win anymore. max free agents tend to want to play together in order to have a shot. next year, the unrestricted free agents are westbrook, blake griffin and chris paul. my guess is that griffin and westbrook might want to play together. Westbrook/Butler/McDermott/Griffin/Lopez would be a really interesting team with Mirotic/Valentine/Grant/Portis/ Felicio and two #1s rounding out a bench. If the Bulls can't pull this off, then they probably trade Butler next summer to another team looking to put a big 3 together with good young pieces. That could be the Lakers, the Celtics, the Wolves, or even the Sixers who could send great young assets and picks for Jimmy. The biggest reason not to wait to rebuild is that 2017 is supposed to be a great draft. If the Bulls trade JB and tank, they likely get a top 5 pick AND they increase the likelihood that Sacramento falls out of the top 10 and the pick would lose protection and become the Bulls.

  • Westbrook would be great to land. But what would he cost? If he came and some of the bigs started to really click, who knows? A long shot, but still a shot.

  • As I think about all the anger and vitriol directed towards Bulls management, I think it's better to direct that anger towards the NBA itself. Some of you act like its our right to win championships, because we're a big market, etc. but the NBA doesn't work that way. What the players want is for there to only 3-4 teams that really contend, with the other 25 or so teams acting as "feeder" teams for those teams. As LeBron showed, who needs competition when you can make winning easy on yourself, right Kevin Durant?

    There's no competition. There's no parity. There's LeBron's team, currently Cleveland, there's the Spurs and currently, there's Golden State and that's it. Any player who really wants to win would be an idiot to go to any other team besides those 3. If you're going to join a 4th team, better get 2 buddies who are NBA stars to join you, again LeBron showed the way twice now.

    Would Bulls fans really be happier if the Bulls were "going for it" the same way, say, the Knicks are? Maybe we could be a second round exit instead of a bubble playoff team but so what? Without lucking into a player who massively outperforms his contract (e.g. LeBron, Curry), no other team has a chance win a title anyways, so why get mad at the Bulls FO when there are 25 FOs in basically the same position? How is that great Celtics rebuilding plan working out? How about that Thunder team we used to envy? How are those "aggressive" Rockets looking? How about those Lakers with their championship pedigree?

    I'm not saying GarPax should keep their jobs but unless their replacements luck into the next LeBron, Curry or Gregg Popovich, there's no championship coming to Chicago or 25 other NBA cities, not for a while. The NBA is a joke, that's the problem.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    Yeah, I tend to agree. I thought the concept of the salary cap was to spread the good players around so even the small market teams would have a shot from time to time.

    In fact, I would take the Spurs out of your equation. Only GS and the Cavs are ultra teams. Altho, come to think of it, both had to come back from down 1-3 in the playoffs this year.

    At least the Bulls are not shelling out $135 million to guys like Conley. Not yet, anyway. Maybe next summer.

  • In reply to rustyw:

    As longs as Pops is coaching, I wouldn't count out the Spurs, even if Duncan retires.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    Well, they won the past couple of years, especially last year as the league's best defensive team. Will they still be that team with Gulliver replacing Duncan, not if our experience of the past 2 seasons becomes a rerun in SA.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    I'm actually dying to see how uh, Gulliver, will do under that coach, surrounded by that talent. Will he be the solid defensive player that some Bulls fans claimed he was? Or will he continue to be a Krispy Kreme pansy the way other Bulls fans claimed he was? Or somewhere in between, as I tend to think? Inquiring minds want to know.

  • In reply to rustyw:

    I agree with you about the Spurs. Despite their 67 wins, they had no shot at beating GS in the playoffs, they simply struggled to score enough points to beat them 4 times. That's why I rooted for OKC to beat them and move on to face GS in the WCF, as I felt they were the only western team that could beat them, and they should have done so. Now with the Durant move OKC is no longer a threat to GS, when they would have the favorite in the west if Durant stayed.

    It sure looks like a 2 team league right now. Maybe if everything went right for the Clippers they could pose a challenge to GS in the west.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    Are the Bulls not going for it like the Knicks? By signing Rondo and offering Wade three years sure sounds like they are to me. These are win now moves as Rondo is 30 and Wade is 34.

    They are definitely not building for the future...

  • In reply to Chad:

    If they sign Wade then yes, they are going for it like the Knicks, and I for one would be pissed off about it. I don't care about the Rondo signing that much. As for "they offered Wade three years," last I heard is that he and the Bulls haven't even met yet, but when it comes to painting the portrait of an inaccurate GarPax, I find that facts rarely get in the way around here, so believe it if you want to.

    If the Bulls strip down their roster, then it's "oh they're going to be a lottery team for years" and "they're wasting Jimmy Butler's prime" (unless he's included in a trade). I've already heard laments that the Knicks will make the playoffs while the Bulls won't -- as if missing the playoffs is a bad thing. To me there's no sense "going for it" when "it" is an ECF appearance at the absolute best. What the Knicks are doing is folly, their only saving grace is the future upside of Porzingis. If the Bulls do like the Knicks, fire everyone.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    totally agree with this response also.

  • In reply to Chad:

    I have an idea. Let's get a pace-and-space coach and fill the three primary shooting positions with guys who aren't really good shooters, and then see how he does.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    As usual a voice of reason in the jungle of ranting and raving. While I'm no fan of GarPax, particularly the Gar part, I don't spend much time worrying about them. as you pointed out, would we want the Knicks, or Lakers offseason? the only good/maybe great move by the lakers are the Brandon Ingram and the Angelo Russell picks which were only earned by the Lakers have the 2 worst seasons in their long and glorious history even with the presence of Kobe. The Knicks still don't have any of their own draft picks and are loading up on older injured players and second tier free agents. They actually sound good on paper, but they still have no shot against Lebron, GS, the spurs or Clips.

    while I am sickened by Durant to GS, it's mostly a lucky lightening strike, a combination of the flukey massive cap spike and Curry having signed a contract for about half the old max contract and one third of the new max contract. Without both of those things occurring simultaneously Durant would have been a pipe dream. the third strike was OKC blowing the 3-1 lead in the WCF, if OKC wins that series, Durant stays in OKC either as a world champion or runner up.

    Finally, the worst aspect of Durant to GS is not how good it makes GS, now, the team that would have been favored to beat them in the west is completely eliminated as a challenger.

    The owners knew that this massive cap spike was going to be a problem which is why they went to the union seeking to spread it out over a number of years. I don't know why they didn't just do this with the TV networks by simply spreading out the increases in the TV money over several years instead of getting the massive increase all at once. This would have been totally under their control with no prior approval needed from the union. I guess they were blinded by the big numbers and their greed.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Charles Barkley says many dumb things but I think he's right on in expressing his disappointment in KG. It used to be a more fun league when the game's top 6-8 superstars were leading 6-8 different teams against each other. MJ's team took on Barkley's team (be it Sixers or Suns) and Reggie Miller's team and Pat Ewing's team and Magic's team, etc. Now those 6-8 stars buddy up and find 2-3 teams to play for. The super teams aren't even that great but more importantly, they are taking away other contending teams. At this point, the first round of the playoffs is pretty much a joke and for the most part, so is the second round and it really didn't used to be that way. Bulls had some epic battles vs. the Cavs/Knicks/Pacers etc. No wonder a great but not all-time-great Ws team won 73 games. They only have 2-3 legit teams they have to play against during the regular season, so they might win 75-80 this year.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    Thats why I always wanted the 95-6-7-8 Bulls to sign or trade for Mutombo, so they could have gone 82-0

  • The Rondo signing is the basketball equivalent of the Cubs' Milton Bradley signing a few years back. It's pretty likely it will turn out the same. The Cubs thought somehow THEY were the ones who could control Bradley. I'm sure Froiberg thinks his superior people skills will tame Rajon's inner beast too. Good luck with that. If he couldn't get along with Doc he's not going to take one bit of coaching from some pasty Iowan with a heart condition.

    I would much rather have seen them keep Rose for one more season and let him play out his contract. I know it's tough to let go of the value of a #1 overall draft pick and get nothing in return. But what they got in return wasn't worth much anyway, and it gave them a messy roster. They could have drafted Wade Baldwin, or even if they had gone with one of the Centers who were available at #14 and then traded up in the 2nd for Demetrius Jackson (whom I believe will become a star in the NBA eventually, if given a chance), they would have had a better offseason. They could have let the rookie PG have a season as a backup, learning the offense before Rose departed. Instead they have 3 new guys who are expected to be contributors next season, none of whom can play a lick of defense (Rondo, Calderon, Valentine). And a slightly above average Center (the "wrong" Lopez). And a couple of end-of-bench journeymen ballhandlers (Dinwiddie, Grant). And a McD clone whose fly is perpetually open (Zip, sir). It's a rag-tag crew at best. And while I agree with most of what Roman said above, I don't think the way to deal with the bad hand the league has dealt the Bulls recently is to control costs and remain mediocre until Lebron and/or Curry retires. If you're going to try to mimic the current "big 3" blueprint, you have to do things that actually make free agents WANT to be on the team. Collecting a bunch of defenseless shooter-types and journeymen, along with a guy who is known as a locker room cancer as your star acquisition, won't cut it. Criticize the Knicks if you will, but with Anthony, Porzingis and Rose they're likely to have a much better chance of going to the conference finals than the Bulls as currently constructed. And while their chances of knocking off one of the top-2 teams are slim, you're not going to be the Prom King if you don't show up to the dance…

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to SloanVanLier:

    Along w Courtney Lee and DPOY Jokim Noah !!

  • In reply to SloanVanLier:

    Well, they started out with Anthony and Porzingis. Put those 2 guys on the Bulls along with Butler and we might have leveraged this summer's free agency into something championship worthy. Heck, maybe we even get a meeting with Durant.

  • Bulls will meet with Wade, sign him and then trade Butler to Boston.

    What is happening Bulls fans?

    We are getting players who are done in their career.

    And ticket prices will be going up to watch this crap !

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to CubsTalk:

    Its going to take a lot to get the mental midgets to move Butler this summer.

    They are totally in Love w Kris Dunn but were still able to hold their water, waiting on Thibbs to up the offer.

    Not sure what the Celtics have besides the picks that would make GarPax to lose compete control

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    I highly doubt that Dunn is the second coming(Jesus or Lebron), so I agree with the Bulls stance, no Wiggins no deal, or no Wiggins then LaVine, Rubio(or another starting claiber player) and Dunn

  • fb_avatar

    Wade has signed

    Butler, Wade, and Rondo. All long limbed and semi- to athletic

    When healthy and motivated, this back court can jump those passing lanes, play in transition, and play some D !

    But boy do we need front court help, rebounding, and most importantly SHOOTING !!!!

    Still rather they tanked then fight for a 4-5 seed and bounced by Cavs in 1st round.

    How did they convince Wade to leave spolstra and Riley for Holberg and GarPax ?? He must have really been insulted by the offer or really chasing that money !

    Side not, prob means Bosh is not coming back. Wade must know his career is done or he prob wouldn't leave his amigo

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    Probably just money or more likely in this case, term, as in an extra year. Wade clearly isn't looking for a place to win anymore so coaching and roster and all that doesn't really matter, he just wants one more big payout and found a team desperate enough to give it to him.

  • The writers of this Bulls Blog all said the Bulls would never sign Rondo or Wade.......

    so much for knowing this Bulls FO.

    Will the Bulls trade Butler ?
    or will they trade off Gibson, McDermott, Mirotic and Dunleavy to clear space?

    Will the Bulls Black players revolt by Thanksgiving and get the current Bulls coach fired on Christmas Day for an ex-NBA player who they like ?

    If James gets hurt this year, are we seeing a Golden State - Chicago match up in the Finals !

  • fb_avatar

    Now who do the Bulls dump?

    Its so sad as pathetic as the Bulls roster is right now that they actually have to dump some rotational players in order to have Wade?

    We can't just go over the cap? We really better not be dumping any shooters. Hopefully its like Calderon

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    Looks like we lost Dunleavy to cavs and Calderon to the Lakers.

    Can some of the intelligent writers of this blog explain how we can't afford to keep Dunleavy but the Cavs have the space ( or going into luxury tax). Bulls can't go into the luxury tax? They that cheap or is there another explanation ?

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    Cavs have a trade exception.

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    its not about being cheap, its about creating the cap space to pay Wade. They needed to move both guys and take back little or no contracts in the process to create the necessary cap space. As long as they didn't have to give up other assets to dump these guys who cares, we don't need either one of them, and they are both OSW guys anyway.

  • I'm not really sure what fans are wanting from the Bulls? I see a lot of talk about how horrible they will be, they should have gone younger and for a rebuild. While I was for a rebuild, I now think this team will win 50 game. They could be the third best team in the East. If they rebuild, they would be bad for the next five years or so. I mean, really bad. Getting a bunch of rookies could work IF you get the right ones. The Timberwolves got two straight #1 picks to make their move, and they were still bad last year and may not make the playoffs this year. If they didn't get those two guys, they could be looking hopeless right now. If instead of KAT they got Russell or Hezonja or some other high pick that wasn't KAT, where would they be? Counting on rookies isn't going to win you games. Orlando has been drafting high for years and are not anywhere close to attracting free agents. That is something that Wade, Butler, Lopez, Mirotic, and even Rondo may be able to do. People have been saying that no free agents will come here, but maybe Chris Paul or Lillard (I have no idea who the free agents are going to be) says, "put me in Rondo's role and we can win". Maybe Westbrook says he wants to play with Wade and Butler. None of that is possible if the Bulls are a 15 win team. I still question if Hoiberg is the coach for this, but what did you all want them to do. What were your winning moves to make the Bulls relevant?

  • I think that most of us would have preferred signing Durant over the dual signings of Rondo and Wade. It would have been a lot less money and the team would be better positioned in both the short and long term. I know the immediate response is "Well, duh, but Durant wouldn't talk to the Bulls." But that is my point. The Bulls' franchise is so degraded that it cannot attract the best players. It can only get the has-beens.

    The Bulls are like the MLS. The washed-up European soccer players, some of whom were among the greatest players in the world at some point, come to the MLS for one last big payday, while no longer playing in games that mean anything.

  • In reply to bjb57:

    Yes, you're right, the entire NBA revolves around Chicago. When a player reaches FA, if he chooses any of the 29 teams besides the Bulls, it's because the Bulls are a bad franchise. 29 franchises couldn't attract Durant, but the other 28 teams aren't degraded, just the Bulls. Believe it or not, the NBA isn't all about Chicago. There are passionate NBA fans in 30 cities across the country, not just Chicago, and the fans of 28 other teams are saying their team should have gotten Durant. Had Durant left Chicago for GS, you'd have an argument.

Leave a comment