Report: Tension between Jimmy Butler, teammates has gotten ‘bad’
The more we learn about the relationship between Jimmy Butler and his Chicago Bulls teammates, the more we get the impression that the worst is yet to come.
In a recent appearance on Tim Bontemps’ “Posting Up” podcast, ESPN’s Nick Friedell spoke about some of the tension that currently exists in Chicago’s locker room. While much of the media attention has focused on alleged issues between Butler and Derrick Rose, Friedell says there is an overall bigger problem since Butler signed his max contract.
“I don’t think that the tension between Jimmy and Derrick was ever as bad as it was made out to be,” the Bulls beat writer explained, as transcribed by Dan Feldman of Pro Basketball Talk. “But the tension now, moving forward off the Derrick talk for a second, between Jimmy and other players in that locker room is bad.
“Because you can’t just say, ‘I signed this new deal. I’m the leader.’ That respect has to be earned over time. Nobody is questioning Jimmy’s work ethic. He’s worked his tail off. But they are questioning whether Jimmy can be the leader that this group needs with so much turmoil going on around them.”
Assuming the rumors are true, it sounds like Butler has quickly morphed from an underrated player with a chip on his shoulder to an entitled superstar.
“You talk to anybody within that Bulls organization, and they’ll tell you that Jimmy has changed,” Friedell added. “His personality has changed. And it’s not to say he’s wrong in that, but this was a kid that loved saying he was from Tomball, Texas and that he was just a role player on a really good team. And now he wants all the trappings that come with being a star in the league.”
Butler has certainly played like a star, and he is clearly the best offensive player the Bulls have. But his 21.4 points per game have not translated into a consistent winning formula, and he hasn’t been shy about blaming others for that.
This isn’t the first we have heard about Butler not getting along with teammates, and it probably won’t be the last unless the Bulls can string together a bunch of wins. Winning has a way of solving everything.