Former Celtic Rajon Rondo wasn't the only player from the Bulls visitor's locker room who was greeting reporters and TD Garden employees in the hallway before Wednesday night's game.
Bulls guard R.J. Hunter signed a one-year deal with the Bulls last Thursday after the Celtics waived the second-year guard in order to reach the 15-man limit in time for the start of the regular season.
Although it's been less than one week since he moved to Chicago, Hunter says so far the atmosphere has been great and it's made the transition a smooth one.
"It's been really awesome," Hunter said. "It's such a cool locker room, it's a cool coaching staff -- positive vibes."Hunter, who was waived by the Celtics last Monday, says it was a hard day for him but he's been positive about it and now considers that day a blessing.
"That day was tough," Hunter explained. "When you believe in yourself and it doesn't work out the way you want it to, it kind of hurts. But then again, just because it doesn't work out the way you want it to you can't pout. I felt like it was a blessing in disguise. I had teams calling me that night and that's when I was content with the situation."Unlike the Celtics, the Bulls roster is balanced by young players and seasoned veterans. They're led by All-Stars like Dwyane Wade and Jimmy Butler and veteran point guard Rajon Rondo.
Rondo has certainly received mixed reviews around the league throughout his 10-year career -- something that Hunter says he brought up to his starting point guard the first day he joined the team.
"That's literally the first thing I said to him, like 'bro I've heard so many stories about you,'" Hunter said to Rondo. "It's kind of cool because he's unbelievable -- his preparation, the way he's helped me out so far, the way he helps his teammates out. Controls the floor. [He's] a championship point guard. It's still surreal."Last week after the Celtics' loss to the Bulls, Hunter's former teammate Terry Rozier posted on Instagram a photo of a pump-fake he made against Wade and expressed he admiration for Wade. Rozier, who didn't see the floor much throughout his rookie campaign last season, says he idolized Wade growing up -- something that Hunter can certainly relate to.
Last night is still unreal to me..I used practice falling like this man and argue wit all my friends Kause he was truly somebody I wanted to be just like.. Ima save all the soft stuff for when he retires but to go against yo fav player of all time is somethin ppl don't get to witness on a regular! True definition of your idol becoming your rival. Oh yeah, we winning when they kome to TD Garden next week believe that! 🍀 #gmb
"When I saw that post I was by Wade, and I gave it to D.Wade and he read it," R.J. Hunter said. "He said he's texted with Terry before in college but when he read it he said 'aw, that's really cool.'Hunter says he has to often remind himself to not act like a fan around Wade but says he's been playing it cool.
"I said all the time I try not to fan out because I've been on D.Wade AAU teams, I've had his first kicks. I wore No. 3 after D.Wade, it's surreal but you can't fan out. Not right now. Have to play it cool."