The Rajon Rondo era in Chicago is coming to an end. Multiple sources told CSN Insider Vincent Goodwill that the Bulls will either trade or release last year's starting point guard prior to the start of free agency on Friday night.
The Bulls currently hold a team option to use on Rondo that would pay him $13.4 million next season. Waiving Rondo would cost the team $3 million. Another team looking to free up cap space could conceivably trade for Rondo and then waive him, although it seems unlikely that happens before free agency starts at 11:01 p.m.
Rondo was a surprising addition last year to a Bulls team that was trying to get "younger and more athletic," as general manager Gar Forman told the media after trading Derrick Rose.
Rondo, 30, had just completed a 2015-16 campaign with the Kings in which he led the NBA in assists per game (11.7) and shot a career-best 36.5 percent from beyond the arc. But question marks surrounding his defense and chemistry issues with head coaches - he played for three teams in as many seasons before joining the Bulls - remained.
Rondo was benched in January after a particularly poor stretch in December, although injuries thrust him back into the starting lineup after a five-game DNP streak. He clashed with stars Jimmy Butler and Dwyane Wade through an Instagram post, questioning their leadership, in February. He ended the regular season on a tear, averaging 10.8 points and 7.1 assists in 21 games after the All-Star break. He shot 46 percent from deep, 47 percent from the field and had the Bulls playing some of their best basketball during that stretch.
That play continued into the playoffs when Rondo shocked the top-seeded Celtics, averaging 11.5 points, 8.5 rebounds and 10.0 assists in a pair of wins in Boston. But Rondo suffered a broken thumb in practice and missed the rest of the series, with the Celtics ultimately winning in six games.
Gar Forman and John Paxson told the media at the end of the year they expected to bring Rondo back, but that was before they decided on draft night to deal Jimmy Butler and begin the rebuilding process. That traded netted them 23-year-old Kris Dunn and shooting guard Zach LaVine, and the team already has Cameron Payne and Jerian Grant at the position.