Bulls' decision on Rajon Rondo 'still to be determined' as buyout deadline nears

The Chicago Bulls have clearly changed direction, revamping the roster at last week's NBA Draft by trading Jimmy Butler for three young prospects.

On Tuesday, the Bulls introduced their newest players -- Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn and Lauri Markkanen -- but it's one of their veterans who has everyone in suspense. The Bulls have until Friday to decide if they want to buy out point guard Rajon Rondo for $3 million or keep him and pay his full $13.4 million salary next season.

Chicago vice president of basketball operations John Paxson said it is "still to be determined" whether the Bulls will retain Rondo or buy him out. According to the Associated Press, the team was planning to meet with Rondo's agent, Bill Duffy, on Tuesday.

Rondo, 31, had a tumultuous year with the Bulls last season after coming over from Sacramento. At times he was their starter -- at times he was their third-string point guard -- but he was productive when he was on the court, averaging 7.8 points, 6.7 assists and 4.9 rebounds in nearly 27 minutes per game.

It was during the playoffs, however, when Rondo reminded the Bulls of his old self. He averaged 11.5 points, 10.0 assists and 8.5 rebounds as Chicago took a 2-0 lead on the No. 1-seeded Celtics before an injury sidelined him for the rest of the series.

Rondo doesn't appear to fit with the youth movement in Chicago, but the Bulls could be looking for a mentor for their young guards. Paxson and the Bulls also have to make a decision about Dwyane Wade, who is owed $23.8 million next season. When asked about Wade, Paxson said the idea of a Wade buyout "has not been broached" and that for now he expects Wade to play for Chicago.

If Rondo and/or Wade end up on the free agent market through a buyout, however, expect a serious bidding war to take place among contenders looking for veteran backcourt leadership.

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