The immediate future of the Chicago Bulls franchise -- what its roster will look like next season and which names might be shipped out this offseason -- is an absolute unknown. The 2016-17 roster was a mish-mash of talented youngsters, like Jimmy Butler, and aging veterans, like Rajon Rondo and Dwyane Wade.
One of those key pieces, Rajon Rondo, helped quarterback the Bulls to an 8-seed where they eventually lost in the first round of the playoffs to the Boston Celtics. He is on a short-term deal as the franchise continues to find its identity under Fred Hoiberg.
Although Rondo wasn't available for much of the first-round series against the Celtics after breaking his thumb, he was instrumental in the team's success. He's now also at the mercy of Chicago, who has a team option to pick up for him if they want to keep him next season. At least one Bulls player, All-Star Jimmy Butler, says he'd like for the team to bring back Rondo for another year.
"Of course," Butler told CBS Chicago when asked if he wanted Rondo to remain a Bull for another year. "He's been huge for us this year, molding these young guys into the type of player that they need to be on that basketball floor, in that film room around everyone."
When Rondo was signed, it was a mystery how -- or if, for that matter -- Chicago might use him in their plans. But he developed into a solid point guard and turned it into a high gear when the playoffs began. The Bulls took a 2-0 series lead in the first round against No. 1 seed Boston, and Rondo was among the biggest reason for that.
However like last season, the Bulls' plans are somewhat unknown. Will the Bulls bring back Rondo? Will they draft a point guard? No one can predict what direction the team might go, including Butler. But he says he enjoyed last season and the success they achieved as a unit, and wouldn't mind bringing back his floor general for another season.
The good news is that it would give Chicago continuity and a chance to build on its successes from this season. The bad news for the Bulls, though, is that bringing Rondo back would be a move that could cost around $10 million should he be on the team after June 30.
"Obviously, the way he plays the game, getting everybody involved, yeah, I love playing with him," Butler said of Rondo. "Him and D-Wade, all these others guys. But I don't know what the future holds for anybody."