Greatest free agency signings in NBA history: 29. Rajon Rondo- Chicago Bulls
Much like another signing that we’ll get to shortly, the Bulls decision to sign Rajon Rondo to a two-year deal in 2016 was a baffling one. After all, Rondo was a notorious malcontent whose lack of shooting and diminished athleticism inhibited whatever value he brought as a passer. Basically, the Bulls weren’t getting this guy:
In a vacuum, the move was a headscratcher. Add in the fact that he was brought in to partner up with fellow ball-dominant wings Jimmy Butler and Dwyane Wade, and you had a recipe for disaster.
As far as the regular season went, fans’ concerns proved to be accurate. Rondo unsurprisingly struggled to fit into Fred Hoiberg’s pace-and-space offense, averaging 7.8 points and 6.7 assists on only 46.1 percent true shooting.
The analytics weren’t kind to him either; his 13.6 PER and .060 WS/48 were nothing to write home about and the Bulls net rating jumped from -2.2 to +2.2 when he sat on the bench.
Despite that, teammates seemed to like him, especially the young guys he defended after Butler and Wade passive-aggressively criticized them mid-season (sure, Rondo did so with his groan-inducing “I won a title with the Celtics” flex, but it’s the thought that counts). Plus, he once again donned his “Playoff Rondo” persona when he helped the Bulls take a surprising 2-0 series lead over the top-seeded Celtics in the first round of that year’s playoffs.
Of course, it all came crashing down once Rondo missed the rest of that series with an injury and he would eventually get released once the Bulls began their rebuild. But it wasn’t a complete waste of time.