Let's start with the worst take you can possibly have on the Rondo signing:
Shouldn't the Bulls, like, play a game before the Rondo deal is judged?— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) July 4, 2016
Yeesh. Thankfully, others dare to judge the Rajon Rondo signing. You know my take: it sucks complete and absolute ass. That mindset is even more fortified when seeing other signings, even ones of the unambitious type that the Bulls restrict themselves to, look better than Rondo. Deron Williams, Sergio Rodriguez, and Brandon Jennings signed one-year deals too. If actually thinking of more creative ways to improve the roster: With the Warriors potentially needing to move Shaun Livingston's contract, the Bulls would've been a good landing spot. The Nets landed Jeremy Lin and targeted Tyler Johnson for deals that present some actual upside.
At least if you can make a move that pisses off a bunch of your fans, and eventually your own coach and players, make sure that everyone 'judging' the deal hates it too.
Sports Illustrated's Ben Golliver gives the deal an F. That's the worst grade!
To anyone paying attention, and to any front office with a reasonable solution at point guard, Rondo is no longer worth the hassle. Although he shot a career-best 36.5% on threes and posted a respectable 16.9 Player Efficiency Rating for the Kings, he again failed to translate his own individual production into team success. Sacramento's offensive efficiency rating was higher with Darren Collison on the court rather than Rondo, in large part because the latter is a flow-killer thanks to his ball-stopping and a floor-cramper thanks to his shaky jumper and reluctance to attack the hoop in search of his own offense.
Chris Reina of RealGM gives it a mere C+. But he probably meant F and just wanted to have a curve.
Rondo was one of the NBA's worst transition scorers this past season though he did shoot a career best 36.5 percent on three-pointers, which was comfortably a career high as were his attempts at 170. Rondo shot just 58.0 percent from the line a season after shooting 39.7 percent.
Rondo will inevitably clash with Fred Hoiberg and this is a signing that would make more sense if Tom Thibodeau was still head coach. Thibodeau could at least get Rondo to recommit on defense and would command his respect. The Bulls can cut ties with Rondo after one season so the risk is minimal, but I would have preferred them to instead re-sign E'Twaun Moore and let Butler have all of the ball or really see out Hoiberg's motion offense.
Here's Kevin Pelton at ESPNInsider. Doesn't absolutely hate it, just mostly.
Naturally, Rondo is going to be the lead ball handler anywhere he goes, so Butler is back off the ball. But unlike Rose, Rondo is likely to put Butler in position to score as a passer. According to SportVU tracking on NBA.com/Stats, Rondo's Sacramento Kings teammates shot an effective field-goal percentage of 54.3 percent (weighting 3-pointers as 1.5 field goals) on his passes last season; it was one of the league's better marks among point guards. By comparison, Rose's teammates shot 51.4 percent on his passes.
As impressive as Rondo's box score stats were last season (11.9 points, a league-high 11.7 assists and 6.0 rebounds per game), he was a pale imitation of his peak form defensively. Back when Rondo got traded from the Boston Celtics to the Dallas Mavericks, he admitted conserving energy on D, and the assumption was his effort would get better in Dallas. It didn't, and it probably got even worse last year in Sacramento, when Rondo seemed more focused on accumulating steals and blocks than preventing his opposing number from getting to the paint.
With Rondo at point guard and the aging Mike Dunleavy at small forward -- as well as possible liabilities in Doug McDermott and Denzel Valentine coming off the bench -- the Bulls would need strong interior defense to be as good as last season's league-average defensive rating. Alas, presumptive starters Nikola Mirotic and Robin Lopez don't give them that kind of presence.
After last year's rocky introductory period for Hoiberg—including an infamous incident in December when Butler told reporters he needed to coach the team harder—the last thing the Bulls need to do is introduce a personality into the equation that could make it harder for Hoiberg to get his locker room on the same page.
Rondo's clashes with Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle largely stemmed from disagreements over play-calling responsibilities. Hoiberg will give Rondo more freedom, but that may not sit well with Butler, who was very vocal heading into last season about wanting to run more of the offense. As imperfect as Butler's fit was with Rose, it was at least workable because both of them could play off the ball.
Rondo has to be quarterbacking the offense and setting up other players for offense, or he becomes a massive liability. His respectable 37 percent shooting from three-point range last season with the Kings was an outlier, the first time in his career that he hit above 32 percent and just the fourth time he broke 30. Mostly, he gets the Tony Allen treatment on offense: Teams don't bother guarding him, daring him to shoot because they know he won't make them pay.
Hatred for this move even brought me closer to my nemesis Kelly Scaletta at Today'sFastbreak!
after letting the news settle in, I felt even worse.
And it's not just because he's a me-first, stat-padding player, either. It's not even that adding Rondo to the team makes them neither younger nor more athletic, which was the supposed goal of the front office this offseason.
The potential for full-meltdown mode to hit the Bulls' locker room with Rondo being the catalyst is just too great. For a front office whose one virtue has always been that they stick to good character guys, to pick this guy to be the one to throw caution to the wind with is inexplicable.
The Bulls don't have to bring Rondo back next year, but they may have to bring back whatever problems he creates. And that hardly makes it worth the risk.
(Scaletta had more before the signing on the emptiness of Rondo's near-triple-double-ness)
And finally, I recommend going through all of Bulls Confidential's ethering of this move. Rondo's declining play, lack of chemistry fit, clashing on-court style with Butler and the rest of a lacking-shooting roster, and an indication of a franchise with no clue, let alone a direction.