Rajon Rondo To Remain Out Of Bulls’ Rotation

By Cody Westerlund–

CHICAGO (CBS) — Rajon Rondo will remain out of the Bulls’ rotation Monday night against the Hornets, but the team’s point guard situation is still “fluid,” coach Fred Hoiberg said after morning shootaround.

Rondo was benched for the second half of Friday’s loss against the Pacers and sat the entirety of Saturday’s loss against the Bucks. He signed a two-year deal last July to be the Bulls’ starting point guard, and he made clear after Saturday’s loss that he’s not afraid to ask for a trade should he remain out of the rotation.

For now, he will. Michael Carter-Williams will again start Monday, while Jerian Grant will be used in a reserve role, Hoiberg said.

“We’ll continue to monitor the flow of the game,” Hoiberg said. “We may change that but as of right now, that’s the plan.”

Rondo met with general manager Gar Forman and executive vice president of basketball operations John Paxson late Saturday to discuss his situation. The Bulls have lauded him for his professionalism in dealing with his benching, but it’s clear he wants to be playing. Just how long Rondo would have to remain out of the rotation before he would ask for a trade remains unclear. His salary is about $14 million this season, with only around $3 million guaranteed in the second year.

What’s clear is that Hoiberg has lost confidence in him. The 30-year-old Rondo is averaging 7.2 points and 7.1 assists while shooting a career-low 36.9 percent, and his defense has been oft-criticized.

It doesn’t appear the Bulls have any set plan in place to deal with this situation outside of a day-by-day basis. As of Monday morning, Hoiberg hadn’t had a conversation with Rondo about being used on the second unit. Asked whether he’d be comfortable using Rondo in a reserve role, Hoiberg responded “potentially.”

And veteran forward Taj Gibson added that he was surprised by Rondo’s benching and hadn’t received an explanation for it despite inquiring about it.

“I don’t even know what happened to tell you the truth,” Gibson said. “I still don’t know what happened. I’m still waiting to see what’s happening.

“I asked. I haven’t gotten any word yet, so I’m still waiting.”

That’s about all anyone can do right now as the Bulls (16-18) prepared to host the Hornets (19-15) after losing five of their past seven games.

“We’ll see how everything goes with our team the way it is right now, with the rotation the way it is,” Hoiberg said. “We’ll continue to monitor and take it game by game.”

Cody Westerlund is a sports editor for CBSChicago.com and covers the Bulls. He’s also the co-host of the @LockedOnBulls podcast, which you can subscribe to on iTunes and Stitcher. Follow him on Twitter @CodyWesterlund.

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