Prior to the singing of Dwayne Wade and Rajon Rondo, Bulls GM Gar Forman told the media that his team was “looking for younger, more athletic players that could shoot and can fit into coach Fred Hoiberg’s offense.”
So why did the Bulls change their free agency plan and instead of building for the future, decide that they want to have a team that has a better chance of competing in the Eastern Conference now?
The Bulls finished the 2015-2016 season with a 42-40 record and ended up placing 9th in the Eastern Conference and missing the playoffs for the first time in eight years.
Along with missing the playoffs, the Bulls lost Derrick Rose, Pau Gasol, and Joakim Noah to free agency this offseason.
Let’s start with Rondo. Why did the Bulls sign a player who has a reputation of being a team chemistry killer and who’s performance has decreased over the past couple years?
Derrick Rose was never a defensive specialist. Rondo brings a different type of dynamic to the defensive side for the Bulls. Throughout his career, Rondo has averaged at least 1.5-2.0 steals a game every season while Derrick Rose has only averaged 1 steal per game in one season in his career. While playing for the Kings, Rondo has a win share of 2.3 wins and a defensive plus/minus score of 0.2 which was top 10 in the league for NBA point guards.
While Rondo is not known for his scoring and outside shooting, he is a great distributor that could benefit Jimmy Butler and Dwayne Wade. In the 2015-2016 season, Rondo averaged 11.7 assists a game compared to Rose’s 4.7. Rose was never a pass first guard and that is what the Bulls need in Hoiberg’s system in order to win more games. Rondo is a great passer and gives his team more chances to score unlike Rose.
Lastly, The Bulls got a great deal in Rondo in the financial side of the singing. In singing Rondo, The Bulls still have the cap space to be able to use two-max contracts next summer. Which makes sense because the Bulls will be interested in singing Russell Westbrook, Chris Paul, and/or Blake Griffin who are all free agents in 2017. Along with the singing of Rondo, The Bulls also made an interesting singing in Dwayne Wade.
Wade grew up in Chicago and always wanted to play with the Bulls. The Bulls offered Wade $47 million while the Heat offered $40 million. The Heat could not offer anymore than that because they had to use $23 million of their cap space paying Chris Bosh who was not able to play most of the season because of blood clots and may never be able to play again.
While the Bulls are taking a chance with Wade, he could affect the team more than most people think.
The past two years in Miami, Wade has averaged around 20 points per game and often carried the team throughout the regular season. Coming to the Bulls and playing along side Jimmy Butler and Rajon Rondo, the weight will be taken off Wade’s shoulders as he now has less pressure on him and can play his game that made him such a successful player.
He’s not as athletic as he use to be, but Wade has the experience and talent that he can teach to the younger players in the organization and help give them a foundation that can make them successful in the future.
Wade and Rondo have a combined 17 playoff appearances with Wade having 11 (all with Heat) and Rondo having 6 (all with Celtics). The only player close to that on the Bulls is Taj Gibson with five and Robin Lopez with just two. With that being said, Wade and Rondo bring experience to a younger team and could help benefit the Bulls in the long run.