Fred Hoiberg is about to have his hands full.
The second-year Bulls coach won’t be able to avoid that.
But it was nice for Rajon Rondo to insist that it won’t be because of him.
Meeting with the media on Thursday for the first time since signing a two-year, $28 million deal with a mutual option in year two, Rondo talked about his volatile history with coaches, referees, teammates, and even soon-to-be new teammate Dwyane Wade, and did his best to ease the minds of critics that felt he was a powder keg waiting for a spark.
“A lot is perception,’’ Rondo said of his reputation. “Not to knock or anything, you make the bed, you lay in it. As you get to know me and you’ll get to know me a little bit more and coach Hoiberg will get to know me, we’ll see from there. I think I have a clean slate here and these guys are looking forward and I’m just as thrilled to be here.
“You can consider me stubborn, but I think I’m really intelligent. I don’t BS around. I put a lot of work in, I watch film, I study. People may knock it but I think it’s what makes me great. I talk to a lot of older players and players I have respect for and they don’t consider it a knock. I talk to older coaches as well. These guys will get to know me. Like I said people have always doubted me, and this is day one. We’ll see.’’
What can’t be doubted is Rondo’s fire.
And that’s just why he might be the perfect fit for a Bulls squad that was marshmallow soft far too often last season.
Whether it was the behind-the-scenes battle of egos going on between Jimmy Butler and Joakim Noah/Derrick Rose, or the fact that players were mistaking Hoiberg’s kindness as weakness, the result was a trip to the draft lottery and a front office that wanted an identity change.
Trading Rose, as well as letting Noah and Pau Gasol walk in free agency was step one, while inking Rondo one season after he led the NBA in assists was step two.
After both Mike Dunleavy and Jose Calderon pass their physicals on Friday to go to Cleveland and the Los Angeles Lakers, respectively, the Bulls can officially announce the two-year, $47.5 million Wade signing.
Although that didn’t slow down Wade from doing it, both in a letter to Miami – his former organization for the last 13 years – as well as on “Live with Kelly’’ Thursday morning, where he was the guest co-host.
“It’s still surreal and I’m still numb,’’ Wade said. You get a week to decide what you’re going to do and I had no sleep. I lost probably 5 or 10 pounds just not being able to eat.’’
General manager Gar Forman is hoping he isn’t about to start losing sleep, especially with the roster he’s assembling on the fly.
“One of the goals will be to have a group that works together moreso than a year ago,’’ Forman said. “I think it was splintered in some ways. I think we’ve added some guys who will continue to help us in that direction.’’
Forman also didn’t seem concerned with Rondo’s history.
“We were very honest and transparent, as was he, in our conversations as far as how he would fit in this team and how he would fit in the culture we’ve created here,’’ Forman said of Rondo. “We thought the dialogue was really, really positive.’’