"My vets would never go to the media. They would come to the team. ... 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 wrote on Instagram.
My vets would never go to the media. They would come to the team. My vets didn't pick and choose when they wanted to bring it. They brought it every time they stepped in the gym whether it was practice or a game. They didn't take days off. My vets didn't care about their numbers. My vets played for the team. When we lost, they wouldn't blame us. They took responsibility and got in the gym. They showed the young guys what it meant to work. Even in Boston when we had the best record in the league, if we lost a game, you could hear a pin drop on the bus. They showed us the seriousness of the game. My vets didn't have an influence on the coaching staff. They couldn't change the plan because it didn't work for them. I played under one of the greatest coaches, and he held everyone accountable. 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.
Wade and Butler ripped into their team after the Bulls' loss to the Hawks on Wednesday, a game they were leading by 10 points with 3 minutes left in regulation.
"I don't know what happened," Wade said. "But we continue to be in these kinds of situations and lose games like this. Everyone don't care enough. You got to care enough man. It's got to mean that much to you to want to win. And it doesn't. So I don't know what happened. I don't know how you fix it. It just doesn't mean enough to guys around here to want to win ballgames. It pisses me off, but I can't be frustrated and I can't care too much for these guys. That have to care for themselves. You got to do better. You got to do better with knowing where your shot's coming and knock them down. You got to do better with knowing film, knowing personnel. Just as a team, just got to do better, man."
Wade and Butler, who combined for 73 points on the night, had a clear message they wanted to get across in their postgame comments to the media. The pair walked out of the showers together and knew exactly what they wanted to say.
"M-----f----- just got to care if we win or lose," Butler said. "At the end of the day, do whatever it takes to help the team win. You play your role to the tee. Be a star in your role, man. That's how you win in this league, man. You have to embrace what this team, what this organization needs for you to do on either end of the floor. On top of everything else, just play every possession like it's your last. We don't play hard all the time. It's very disappointing whenever we don't play hard.''
Wade, the 12-time All-Star and three-time champion with Miami, took aim at the younger players, saying, "I'm 35 years old, man. I have three [NBA] championships. It shouldn't hurt me more than it hurts them. They have to want it."
Rondo, who has been praised by teammates and coaches throughout the season for serving as a mentor to many players on the Bulls' roster, defended the younger players in his post.
The Bulls, who fell to 23-24 after Wednesday's loss, will face Wade's former team, the Miami Heat, at home Friday night.
Rondo came to Chicago with a history of clashing with coaches.
Wade and Butler repeatedly defended Rondo after the veteran point guard was benched in the second half of a Dec. 30 loss to the Indiana Pacers. Wade even praised Rondo for handling the benching, which lasted five games, in a professional manner.
Rondo said after his benching that he didn't get a "clear cut" message about his future with the Bulls after a Dec. 31 meeting with Bulls executives Gar Forman and John Paxson. It was a notion the Bulls' front office disagreed with, but underscored the divide between Rondo and the organization.
Rondo has struggled all season on the floor averaging 6.4 points, down from a 10.7 career average.
In his comments before a Jan. 11 loss to the Washington Wizards, Rondo said the role he was sold on before signing is not the same one he was asked to serve in now.
ESPN's Nick Friedell and The Associated Press contributed to this report.