Rajon Rondo hasn’t played at all for the last 2.5 games, the only healthy scratches of his career to this point.
He spoke to ESPN.com’s Nick Friedell (via that lame-ass Twitter link thing ESPN has going) on Wednesday before their game against Cleveland tonight, regarding his meeting with the Bulls front office:
It went ok...it really wasn't a clear cut message. We'll talk again.
To be fair to Rondo, it wasn’t really made ‘clear cut’ by Hoiberg to us fans, either. Especially why it’s not just a demotion from the starting lineup, but going from thirty minutes a game to zero.
Rondo said “we’ll see” when asked by Friedell about coming off the bench. The Athletic this week pointed to it being a pretty good idea, given that Rondo could dominate the ball more to his liking and facilitate shooters like McDermott and Mirotic.
But we’ve yet to see if Hoiberg is interested in that. He’s maintained this was a basketball decision and not a disciplinary one, and as such it still seems like a failing on his part that he takes Rondo from such heavy usage to none at all. And if he’s effectively saying that in his eyes Rondo is no longer an NBA rotation player, that’s interesting judgement. It may be accurate, but then that’s a major shot at Gar Forman given that he just gave Rondo $17m a few months ago.
Hoiberg’s also maintained that Rondo has been professional throughout this benching. He seems to have the backing of his teammates like Jimmy Butler. Taj Gibson had this pretty interesting quote this week:
Taj Gibson says he inquired about why Rajon Rondo was benched: "I asked. I haven't gotten any word yet. I'm still waiting."— Cody Westerlund (@CodyWesterlund) January 2, 2017
He’s a good player in this league and has had some big games for us. The decision that was made obviously came from up top and the head coach. It’s just a tough position to be in, a tough situation. It can be uncomfortable at times, especially when your teammates don’t know what’s going on and it’s not their job to know what’s going on. I think he has handled it great. That’s all you can ask for from a player, that they’re professional about whatever situation comes their way. He’s been very professional about it up to this point. But it still sucks. It’s unfortunate.
It IS unfortunate, and I’m curious to see if it continues will the team start to tune out Hoiberg as a result. Or if their coach is right in that no Rondo is better than any, and there a few more wins help them get over it.