A person with knowledge of the situation of told the Associated Press that the New Orleans Pelicans have agreed in principle on a one-year deal with former Bulls guard Rajon Rondo.
The person said Rondo is expected to sign his contract next week and the terms are still being finalized. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because an official announcement has not been made.
In 69 games with the Bulls last season, Rondo averaged 7.8 points, 5.1 rebounds and 6.7 assists. The Bulls bought out his contact after the season for $3 million, making him a free agent. He would have made $13.4 million next season.
Rondo’s one year in Chicago was turbulent. Coach Fred Hoiberg benched him in late December, telling him he was playing too slowly, and the Bulls looked to trade him in January. However, he quickly regained traction after he ripped Dwyane Wade and Jimmy Butler in an Instagram post for publicly questioning the effort and heart of their teammates.
After Jerian Grant and Michael Carter-Williams stumbled in holding down the starting point-guard spot and Cameron Payne — acquired at the trade deadline — proved to be a disaster, the Bulls were forced to lean on Rondo down the stretch.
He not only helped secure a playoff spot but was key in putting the top-seeded Celtics on the ropes in the first round as the Bulls won the first two games in Boston. But a broken right thumb and injured wrist sidelined him, and the Bulls lost four in a row without him.
At the end of the season, Paxson had said there was a “really good chance” of Rondo coming back, citing his influence and popularity with the Bulls’ young players. Instead, an organizational change of direction has altered those plans.
The deal with the Pelicans joins Rondo with fellow Kentucky Wildcats Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins. The addition gives coach Alvin Gentry the flexibility to play Jrue Holiday more at shooting guard, an effective position for him in the past.
Rondo was a four-time All-Star and won a championship with the Celtics. But he has bounced from Dallas to Sacramento to Chicago in the last three seasons.