Rajon Rondo On Benching: Bulls Told Me They Were ‘Saving Me From Myself’

(CBS) The saga of Bulls point guard Rajon Rondo has taken another twist.

Prior to Chicago’s game at Washington on Tuesday evening, Rondo held an 11-minute media session in which he went into detail on his recent five-game benching, calling the situation the most confusing of his 11-year NBA career and saying his communication with coach Fred Hoiberg regarding his role has been essentially non-existent.

With Jimmy Butler ill and Dwyane Wade resting, Rondo entered Tuesday’s game midway through the first quarter, but it was his first action since Dec. 30. Rondo never got a clear explanation from Hoiberg for why that benching happened, he told the Chicago Tribune.

“I got a slight explanation from another guy on the staff,” Rondo said, according to the Tribune. “A guy told me that he was saving me from myself. I don’t want to say any names. But that’s what the explanation was. In Cleveland, they told me I had a negative 20 (plus-minus rating) in Indiana at halftime. I think that was part of the reason.”

When the Bulls signed Rondo to a two-year deal in July that includes a second season with only a minimal financial hit if they want to get out of the contract, they touted a free-agency meeting between Hoiberg and Rondo as a big reason for believing the marriage would work. They’re no longer seeing eye to eye, with Rondo telling the Tribune at one point, “You’re only as good as your coach thinks you are.”

Rondo was benched for poor play, just days after executive vice president of basketball operations John Paxson told 670 The Score that the Bulls needed to get a better idea of what they had in their young players. Entering Tuesday, Rondo was averaging 7.2 points and shooting a career-low 36.9 percent.

Rondo has said previously that he wouldn’t be afraid to ask management to move him if he stayed out of the playing rotation. Rondo met with Paxson and general manager Gar Forman on Dec. 31 after a loss, but he’s said that didn’t provide much clarity about his role or future either.

“When I signed here, why I wanted to come here, it’s a lot different than what I anticipated,” Rondo told reporters.

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