Rondo signed a two-year deal with the team in 2016, but only $3 million was guaranteed for the 2017-18 season. The organization chose to cut its losses while saving over $10 million in payroll.
The 31-year-old is coming off an up-and-down year with the Bulls, with his 7.8 points per game being his lowest since his rookie season. He also added 6.7 assists and 1.4 steals per game, which was also relatively disappointing.
There was even a stretch over the course of the year where coach Fred Hoiberg simply didn’t put him into games.
However, he turned things around toward the end of the season, averaging 10.8 points, 7.1 assists and 5.1 rebounds per game after the All-Star break.
“He was great,” Hoiberg said of Rondo after the season, per Nick Friedell of ESPN.com. “The highs and lows that we had this season, he found a way to continue to battle through that and play his best basketball when it mattered most. I love Rondo. I love coaching him. I love everything about the kid. He was so good to have out there on the floor.”
Despite the vote of confidence, trading Jimmy Butler changed the team’s approach going forward. After adding Kris Dunn, it’s clear the guard wasn’t a part of Chicago’s future plans and decided to move on without him.
A strong end to the season could allow Rondo to generate a lot of interest on the open market. The four-time All-Star has led the NBA in assists per game three different times and can help a lot of teams.
Canaan just finished his first season with the Bulls. The 26-year-old appeared in 39 games during the regular season, averaging 4.6 points and 1.3 rebounds.
He showed some promise in the postseason after Rondo broke his thumb against the Boston Celtics, scoring 13 points in Games 4 and 5, though the Bulls would lose the series in six games.
The Bulls will likely move forward with Dunn and Jerian Grant as the team’s top point guards, with Rondo and Canaan headed toward free agency.