Rajon Rondo passes on his ‘I told you so’ moment before Game 2

BOSTON — It was Rajon Rondo’s stage for vindication.

After all the mind games he has gone through this season with the Bulls, there was the veteran with the media gathered around him on Tuesday, poised for an “I told you so’’ moment.

And like he does so often on the court, he passed.

“People are going to form their opinions regardless of what I say or how I act,’’ Rondo said. “It’s how life is.

“I went through a tough time playing basketball, but I have a great job, doing what I love, and still smiling to this day while I do it.’’

Rondo was signed in the offseason to lead the offense but saw that all change when Dwyane Wade was brought aboard. Rondo eventually lost his starting job, then was completely out of the rotation and on the trading block.

When the season started to slip away, they made him the backup point guard to lead the second unit, and after five consecutive losses in mid-March, made him the starter again.

The Bulls are 11-6 since Rondo got his old job back.

“I just got to put the credit to my age,’’ Rondo said. “When I had older guys around me I kind of leaned on them for advice and went through tough times, so for me to be the example, just continue to work and show up on time. That’s what I’ve tried to do.’’

A younger Rondo might have been an in-house distraction. Or maybe his reputation is more perception than reality. That was his take, at least.

“People that know me know me,’’ Rondo said. “What you guys write is part of the story, but it’s not who I am daily. I guess this year in particular, what I went through, it’s part of the growing process.’’

The Bulls, who own the $13.3 million option on Rondo next season, could buy him out for $3 million. But Rondo says he would like to come back.

“Yeah, I like where I’m at,’’ Rondo said. “I think we have a really good team. We made a big trade halfway through the season. All the things this year with 45 different lineups, we still made it to the playoffs.’’

Stand-up guy

Wade, who knows Grizzlies coach David Fizdale from their days together with the Heat, loved Fizdale’s rant after the Grizzlies lost to the Spurs on Monday night.

“It didn’t surprise me at all,’’ Wade said. “As an assistant coach, he had to be held back a few times because he’s passionate not only about his game but his players.’’

Follow me on Twitter @suntimes_hoops.

Email: jcowley@suntimes.com

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