Here’s a comforting thought, Bulls fans: if you’re confused about the direction of this team and the plans of front office wonks Gar Forman and John Paxson, you’re not alone. Apparently their $14 million point guard is confused too. And that’s even after he got some face time with the pair.
Rajon Rondo spoke to the media during Wednesday morning’s shootaround; the first time he’s spoken publicly since having a meeting with Forman and Paxson last Saturday night. For the proud veteran who suddenly finds himself out of coach Fred Hoiberg’s rotation, the hope was to gain a clearer understanding of what the next steps will be.
Surprise, surprise. GarPax failed to make the picture any clearer for Rondo.
“It went OK. It really wasn’t a clear-cut message [from Forman and Paxson]. We’ll talk again.” – Rajon Rondo
Sound frustratingly familiar, Bulls fans? Yeah. It sounds like the rantings of the group of pessimists (including yours truly) who called out GarPax for signing Rondo and fellow aging veteran Dwyane Wade last summer after they told fans the plan was to get “younger and more athletic.” Quit contradicting yourselves, for cryin’ out loud! Is it a “rebuild”? What’s a “retool”? What the hell is going on with this team?
Rondo has made it clear that he wants a trade if Hoiberg continues to bench him. When asked if GarPax said they’d be willing to help him find a new team, Rondo forwarded that question to his agent.
“I’m leaving that talk for my agent [Bill Duffy] and for them guys [Forman and Paxson] to talk.” – Rajon Rondo
What Happens Now
The reality is that John Paxson is the one pushing for the youth movement. He said in a Christmas Day interview with 670 The Score that he wants to see the kids on this roster get more minutes. Shortly after that interview, Rondo was benched in favor of Michael Carter-Williams and Jerian Grant has played the backup minutes at point guard. Even on Monday night when Dwyane Wade was unavailable (old knees), rookie guard Denzel Valentine leapfrogged Rondo in the rotation.
Now that Valentine is out again with a re-sprained left ankle, will Rondo see any minutes tonight against the Cleveland Cavaliers? Wade is a gametime decision with his swollen left knee. If he also sits, will the mostly ineffective Isaiah Canaan get another shot before Rondo sees the floor?
I guess we’ll have to wait and see. Just like Rondo has to wait and see what GarPax will do regarding his future with the team. Despite the popular notion that he’s a cancer in the locker room and can’t get along with his coaches, we’ve heard nothing but glowing reviews about Rajon’s leadership and professionalism since he arrived in Chicago. Part of me feels bad for the guy. He learned something last weekend that Bulls fans have known for years now: when it comes to GarPax, you can never be too sure just what the hell it is they’re thinking.