The Chicago Bulls probably should have finished as the East's second-best team last year, but a lack of chemistry became evident as the season wore on, and a club featuring two All-Stars in Jimmy Butler and Pau Gasol somehow ended up in ninth place, out of the playoff picture.
There were reports of locker room tension between Jimmy Butler and teammates Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah, and as it turns out, the issues were real. They were upset with Butler taking over a leadership role without asking permission, and in an interview with the Chicago Sun Times, Butler confirmed that was the case, while explaining things from his perspective.
“I say this in the most humble way possible and I mean that, is the [young players] here see Jimmy Butler the two-time All-Star, the Olympian, a 20-point per game scorer, the player I have been since a lot of these young guys came into the league,’’ Butler said. “They didn’t see the guy that was trying to get off the bench like other people have, and I don’t need to say names. So as my role changed, the way I go about the game changed. If I’m not playing well I’m hurting my team because I’m supposed to be a reason we win.
“Now, the way I handle my business is, ‘Look man, I want to win. I don’t give a [expletive] if you like me or not. I’m here to win.’ ‘’
Butler emerged as his team's best player, but a former MVP in Rose, and a two-time All-Star in Noah who had been with the team for nine years apparently weren't ready for Butler to take control. They both went to the Knicks in offseason moves, and even with veterans Dwyane Wade and Rajon Rondo newly in the fold, there will be no questioning the fact that this year's Bulls are Jimmy Butler's team now.