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Jimmy Butler’s Hoiberg Comments More than Isolated Incident

Nov. 24, 2015 - JIMMY BUTLER (21) looks to drive. The Portland Trailblazers hosted the Chicago Bulls at the Moda Center. (Photo by David Blair/Zuma Press/Icon Sportswire)
David Blair/Zuma Press/Icon Sportswire

Jimmy Butler threw shade on his new coach, Fred Hoiberg, after the Chicago Bulls were blown out by the New York Knicks. Now it seems there may be more to the story than just a frustrated diatribe.

The comments that prompted the current controversy are:

“I believe in the guys in this locker room, yeah,’’ Butler said. “But I also believe that we probably have to be coached a lot harder at times. I’m sorry, I know that Fred’s a laid-back guy, and I really respect him for that. But when guys aren’t doing what they’re supposed to do, you gotta get on guys, myself included. You gotta do what you’re supposed to do when you’re out there playing basketball.

“It’s on everybody. But I just think when it’s coming from [Hoiberg], it’s a lot different. It’s different when a player is telling another player and a coach is telling a player. I know it’s really not in him, but I think at times that’s what we need.’

That’s not a good luck, but K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribue reports it could be even worse:

What would seemingly be an ideal fit for a player as mobile and athletic as Butler has instead led to Butler going to Hoiberg early this season and talking about the need for more touches in the mid-post and on isolations, sources said. When Hoiberg recently confirmed Doug McDermott’s assertion that the Bulls started running sets that worked last year, calling plays for Butler was one of the changes.

Furthermore, according to sources, Butler used profanity while addressing the coaching staff once and disrupted a film session on another occasion with critical comments. While those defending Butler say such instances stem from his frustration that few players match his work ethic, his habit of warming up on his own has alienated others to the point that Joakim Noah recently talked to Butler, a source said.

Those aren’t good looks at all, and lead to a possibility that Bulter, unchecked, may be “getting too big for his britches.”

According to Johnson, Butler and Hoiberg met for a full hour today. Hopefully, they worked some things out.

Which some will take those to mean different things. Johnson did add this:

We’ll see where this goes from here.

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