Jimmy Butler, Joakim Noah reportedly clashed at end of Bulls career
Jimmy Butler and Joakim Noah were tight for the first handful of years during Butler’s NBA career, but things changed and the two grew apart during Noah’s final year with the team, according to a report.
ESPN’s Nick Friedell has an excellent feature on the downfall of the Bulls, a team that showed so much promise when they reached the Eastern Conference Finals behind MVP Derrick Rose in the 2010-2011 season. The Bulls changed coaches, have blown up their team, and now look like one of the worst franchises in the league.
In his feature, Friedell has a lot of sources talking both on and off the record. One notable item he shared is that Noah and Butler clashed in the 2015-2016 season, which was Noah’s final season before he left for the Knicks in free agency. Friedell says the two “engaged in several heated disagreements throughout that season.”
Both talked about their relationship and noted that things changed.
“What happened?” Butler told Friedell. “I don’t know. All I can say is, obviously he’s been with me since I was a nobody in this league. And I went about things a lot differently. My voice wasn’t heard. And he’s been with me as I came to be an All-Star as well in this league. And my voice was heard then. And when my voice is heard, I’m going to let it be heard.”
“We’re just different people,” Noah said to ESPN. “We were always very close; me and Jimmy were always very close, but things change.”
One issue that evolved is that Butler grew frustrated over his feeling that Noah wasn’t working as hard as he was. Butler had gone from being a bench player when he was first drafted to becoming an All-Star through his hard work, and he expected others to work as hard as he did.
Butler is now in Minnesota and playing under Tom Thibodeau, a coach he believes suits him well. Noah is recovering from shoulder surgery and was suspended in March for a violation of the league’s anti-doping policy.