Are you having fun yet, Fred Hoiberg?
The Bulls have the potential to be the second-best team in the East and the biggest threat in that conference to Cleveland, but they are going to have to stay healthy and avoid distractions.
However, distractions find the Bulls.
The latest comes from a report by Joe Crowley in the Chicago Sun-Times, another in the line of reports of tension between Jimmy Butler and Derrick Rose.
It was provided Wednesday, as a former member of the Bulls said in a phone interview, “Personally, the two are great. Professionally is where they have a difference of opinion.’’
According to the source, Butler considers Rose a friend, but “doesn’t have a lot of respect for his work ethic.’’ In Butler’s mind, Rose was considered the face of the franchise, and if the face of the franchise wasn’t busting his butt in practice every day, especially last season, what was the message to the rest of the team?
Expect the denials in 3..2..1…
As noted before, this is far from the first time a report of tension between Butler and Rose has surfaced. And as they have before, both men will deny any issues. But this is a lot of smoke for no fire (especially since this report is based on the comments of a former Bulls player).
The Bulls may be transitioning from Rose’s team to Butler’s team — unless Rose has a comeback this year to 80 percent or more of his MVP year — and those do not always go smoothly. There are egos on the line, agents and others whispering in the players’ ears, and all of it can just build into a massive storm. Hoiberg has praised Butler’s work ethic during camp, and Butler has talked openly of trying to be more of a leader now that he has a five-year. $95 million contract in his back pocket, all of which may be fuel on the fire.
If there are issues, it falls to Pau Gasol and Joakim Noah to shut it down early and make sure it doesn’t infect the team as a whole.