Recent comments from Chicago Bulls point guard Rajon Rondo that said he would demand a trade if he continues to be benched have not changed head coach Fred Hoiberg‘s state of mind when it comes to who his starting point guard is.
Michael Carter-Williams is slated to make a second consecutive start on Monday against the Charlotte Hornets as the Bulls look to dispell a nightmarish month of December that mired the team to six wins and 11 losses.
Hoiberg did compliment the way Rondo has handled his demotion and said he hasn’t talked to him about coming off the bench, but said he’s confident he’ll handle the situation well if it indeed happens, according to ESPN’s Nick Friedell.
“I’ll say this about Rajon, he’s handled this as well as he possibly can in this type of situation,” Hoiberg said, according to Sean Highkin of the Athletic.
Even his own teammates are dumbfounded about the decision.
“I don’t even know what happened to tell you the truth,” forward Taj Gibson told Friedell. “I still don’t know what happened. So I’m just waiting to see what’s happening… I asked. I haven’t gotten any word yet. I’m still waiting.”
Rondo’s minutes took a steep decline against the Indiana Pacers, playing only in 11 minutes instead of his normal 30-minute average. He was then benched in a 20-point loss to the Milwaukee Bucks — an event that provoked his trade ultimatum.
Chicago made Rondo their main target in the offseason, signing him to a two-year, $27 million contract, as Wade soon after fell into their lap on his way out of South Beach.
The Bulls are now experiencing the headache teams like the Dallas Mavericks faced after benching Rondo. ESPN’s Tim MacMahon, who’s covered the Mavs for several years, had some insight as what may be brewing in the Windy City.
“The reason his mid-series departure from Dallas was mutual is because Mavs decision-makers didn’t think it was wise to keep him around the team after he’d been pulled from the rotation,” wrote MacMahon. “And Rick Carlisle had made the call not to use Rondo against the Rockets anymore. All indications are that Rondo is handling his demotion professionally, but Bulls brass has to know that it has a potential ticking time bomb on its hands.”
This is the question that the Bulls have to be facing right now internally: If Rondo isn't going to play, then why keep him on the team? https://t.co/TRQNTcIADN
— Nick Friedell (@NickFriedell) January 2, 2017
Rondo has averaged a feeble 6.3 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 6.9 assists in the month of December, reaching double-digit scoring only four times in 17 outings. The Kentucky product particularly struggled during his last six games, scoring a combined 23 points and going a mere 10-of-43 from the floor (23 percent).