Rajon Rondo had a…unique...one-season stint with the Bulls. The team brought in the four-time All-Star and Dwyane Wade via free agency in summer 2016, forming the "Three Alphas" trio with Jimmy Butler in hopes of winning a championship.
The 2016-17 Bulls season was one not without controversy. Although the team advanced to the playoffs as a No. 8 seed, they experienced locker room disfunction that saw Wade and Butler pitted against Rondo and the younger players.
In an interview with Bleacher Report published on Saturday, Rondo opened up on his Bulls tenure, discussing a multitude of topics:
Rondo, on being benched for younger point guards:
We have a meeting the next day, and they say, 'We want to experiment,'" Rondo said. "I'm thinking we're trying for a championship. ... Why would you go younger when you have a future Hall of Famer [Dwyane Wade] and Jimmy Butler on the rise? We're not trying to win?
"People in my circle would tell me: 'Stay with it. Don't give them what they want. Don't overreact.' That was tough because knowing what I could do with this team, it was, [Expletive], I'm not even playing?' ... If you're going to start one- or two-year point guards with no experience, Dwyane Wade and Jimmy Butler are going to eat their [expletive] up on the court. They won't even be a factor. I know how to keep guys happy. I know how to manage the offense, who needs shots, who doesn't."
The Bulls removed Rondo from the rotation for five games, keeping him off the court from the second half of a Dec. 30 game against the Pacers until Jan. 10 against the Wizards. Jerian Grant and Michael Carter-Williams played ahead of him, hence his reference to going younger.
Including the Dec. 30 game, the Bulls went 3-3 without Rondo in the rotation. Behind his return to the floor, Wade and Butler, though, they snuck into the playoffs, taking a 2-0 lead over the No. 1 seed Celtics in the quarterfinals. However, Boston won the next four games to clinch the series, with Rondo missing the action after breaking his thumb in Game 2.