Rajon Rondo has handed out more than 6,300 assists in his NBA career. It makes sense that guys like playing with him.
But Rondo’s mercurial personality hasn’t always been well-received, especially by his coaches. It might be why Rondo, who since leaving the Celtics, is with his fourth team in as many seasons.
Nikola Mirotic was reunited with his former Bulls teammate on Monday when the Bulls faced the Pelicans in New Orleans. Mirotic has gone through some relationship issues of his own this season.
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When Mirotic was asked about Rondo, at first he joked about him but then he paid him the highest compliment.
“I hate Rondo, seriously I do because he’s such a good guy, such a good professional, does everything so right,’’ Mirotic said. “No, but seriously he is the best teammate I ever had. It’s just who he is.
‘‘He was one of those guys that every time he talked, it didn’t matter if he had a good day or a bad day, he was always there. I’ve had some teammates or people that just showed up when something good was happening, not bad. He understood about sticking together and getting guys on the same page. I really love him for who he is. When [the Bulls] cut him [last summer], I was really disappointed because I wanted him on my team at least another year. But this is the NBA, and we’re all moving on.’’
Rondo, who helped unify the Bulls after a mid-season drama with Dwyane Wade and Jimmy Butler, was voted the team’s best teammate. After that little kerfuffle, Rondo wrote in an Instagram post:
It takes 1-15 to win. When you isolate everyone, you can’t win consistently. I may be a lot of things, but I’m not a bad teammate. My goal is to pass what I learned along. The young guys work. They show up. They don’t deserve blame. If anything is questionable, it’s the leadership.’’
Rondo (5 points, 2 assists) wasn’t much of a factor in the the Pelicans’ 132-128 double-overtime victory over the Bulls. Mirotic had 14 points and 4 rebounds.
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