Despite a demotion and public criticism of his team's two leaders, the Chicago Bulls do not plan to buy out the remainder of Rajon Rondo's contract, as they continue to see the guard as a trade asset, according to the Chicago Tribune's K.C. Johnson:
Also, there are no plans to buy out Rajon Rondo, per source. Beyond fact he's playing well/acting professionally, contract is trade chip.— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) January 28, 2017
Rondo's tenure in Chicago has been more or less a disaster. He's a poor fit next to Jimmy Butler and Dwyane Wade, and coach Fred Hoiberg hasn't really figured out what to do with him. In early December, he got a one-game suspension for a reported blowup with an assistant coach. Later that month, Hoiberg started benching him in fourth quarters and then gave him a handful of DNP-CDs. Now, he's the backup to Jerian Grant, and while he has been supportive of his younger teammates, it's clear that he has a problem with the way Butler and Wade have led the team. With only $3 million of his $13.4 million salary guaranteed next season, it's nearly impossible to imagine Rondo remaining in Chicago for long.
Some viewed Rondo's Instagram post as a smart way to get himself out of a bad situation. Few would blame him for not wanting to be a Bull anymore, and he could already have his sights set on joining a contender. Contenders, though, are unlikely to part with assets to acquire a player who is shooting a career-low 37.5 percent, needs the ball in his hands and struggles on defense. That's why a buyout would be best for him.
The question is whether or not Rondo has any value on the trade market, and I'm not totally sure that the answer is yes. It has been years since he's really helped a team win, and Chicago has no real leverage here. The Bulls' best hope might be a team looking for salary cap relief offering a pick along with a long-term, player-friendly contract, but it's unclear that team is even out there.