Rajon Rondo remained in the backup point guard role Friday night — but for how long?
Cameron Payne is the centerpiece of Thursday's trade from the Bulls' perspective. And Jerian Grant has played well of late.
"We'll put the guys on the floor that give us the best chance to win," coach Fred Hoiberg said.
Executive vice president John Paxson openly admitted to roster imbalance now that the Bulls have five point guards, placing the responsibility of figuring it out on Hoiberg. But Paxson also made clear it's important to see what the Bulls have in their young players over the final 25 games.
Hoiberg danced around a question on whether there's a mandate for Payne eventually to start.
"We'll see how all that plays out over the next week," Hoiberg said. "We won't have much practice time with these guys with the back-to-back."
General manager Gar Forman said there are no plans to buy out Rondo. That's mostly because his contract is an attractive offseason trade component because only $3 million of his $13.4 million for next season is guaranteed.
And Hoiberg likes to contribution Rondo is making now.
"The thing I've really liked about Rondo with that second unit is how he has brought a change of pace to the game," he said. "It's a fine line for us: Develop the young guys but we're still competing for the playoffs."
High praise: Jimmy Butler will miss Taj Gibson.
"Taj was amazing to me all the years I've been here," Butler said. "The one thing you can count on Taj is him coming in bright-spirited every day. As emotional as I am on a day-to-day basis, any day that I might have walked in pissed off or sad, whatever it may be, all you have to do is look at Taj and Taj is always smiling. That's what we're going to miss.
"He played extremely hard, but I think the person that he was, that's what's going to be missed, man. That will forever be my guy from Fort Greene, Brooklyn."
Butler also thinks Doug McDermott, who was dealt along with Gibson to the Thunder, will flourish in Oklahoma City.
"He has a hell of a point guard (in Russell Westbrook) that he's playing with who's going to encourage him to shoot the ball at a high clip," he said. "Good for him, man. I wish the best for him and for him to show what he's capable of in this league because I've always had faith in Doug."
Layups: Dwayne Wade is scheduled to play in Saturday's second game of a back-to-back set in Cleveland. Wade has played in eight back-to-backs and rested in the second game four times. … Paul Zipser missed his fifth straight game with left ankle tendinitis and won't make the trip to Cleveland.
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