Report: Bulls believe Jimmy Butler has changed as person, question his leadership


Jimmy Butler and Derrick Rose have reportedly had problems with each other (though both have denied that).

Then came a report Butler is bothering more than Rose.

What is happening in Chicago?

Nick Friedell of ESPN on the Posting Up podcast with Tim Bontemps:

I don’t think that the tension between Jimmy and Derrick was ever as bad as it was made out to be. 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.

You talk to anybody within that Bulls organization, and they’ll tell you that Jimmy has changed. 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.

And that’s all well and good.

But again, this ties back into the leadership problem this team has. You can say all that, but you can’t just say, “Alright, I’m the leader.” You have to earn that respect over time. Maybe Jimmy will.

He’s really rubbed some people the wrong way with how he’s going about things. So, it’s something to watch for, and it’s something that I know is on the minds of the front office in that, “Can we trust this guy to go out and to be who we need him to be every night, and can he lead us the way that a championship-caliber team needs to be led?” And early on, the returns have been no.

Key words: “Early on.”

Butler admitted publicly criticizing Fred Hoiberg’s coaching style was not the best way to handle his concerns. Butler also brought controversy to himself and the team when he declared before the season, “I am a point guard” – Rose’s position.

But Butler is new to leading. He was a role player until last season – and that seemed like a great accomplishment for a late first-round pick who spent a couple years at a community college.

Now, Butler is an All-Star on a max contract. Things have changed – though maybe not enough.

Rose – who has led Chicago – is still there. Joakim Noah – who has led Chicago –is still there.

That makes it much more difficult for Butler to successfully assert himself. Not only are other players accustomed to looking to players still in the locker room, it can’t be easy for Rose and Noah to defer.

Butler hasn’t handled everything well, and that this issue could be deeper than we suspected if the personality that led him here has significantly changed. But as much as, if not more than, any individual, the Bulls’ leadership problems could just be due to circumstance.

Butler’s talent demands Chicago gives him an opportunity to grow through this stage. It’s just not easy to find 26-year-old wings who excel on both ends of the floor.

The other elements could sort themselves out soon. Noah’s contract expires this summer, and Rose might not be long for the Bulls, either.

I wouldn’t rush to declare Butler a problem in Chicago. His off-court issues would have to be far worse than we realize to counteract his on-court production.

But I would keep an eye on him and how he handles suddenly being the team’s best player – and how his teammates handle it, too.

Report: Iggy Azalea dumped Nick Young because Lakers guard impregnated ex-girlfriend, not because of D’Angelo Russell video

LAS VEGAS, NV - MAY 17:  Athlete Nick Young and musician Iggy Azalea attend the 2015 Billboard Music Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena on May 17, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)
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D'Angelo Russell might be off the hook.

Iggy Azalea and Nick Young broke up after Russell recorded and published a video of Young discussing cheating on his former fiancée.

Post hoc ergo propter hoc.

Life & Style:

Life & Style has exclusively learned the real reason Iggy Azalea broke off her year-long engagement to basketball player Nick Young: he once again impregnated his baby mama, Keonna Green!

“Nick waited until Keonna was four months pregnant to tell Iggy the news,” an insider reveals, adding that he told her “he was drunk and had a lapse in judgment.”

To whatever degree Young can compartmentalize this, it probably won’t affect his NBA career.

For Russell, the stakes are different. Some will still resent him for the video, but if it didn’t directly break up Young’s engagement, that reduces the scorn he’ll receive. It’ll still take time for this to pass, but the clock is shorter.

Report: Clippers promote Lawrence Frank, who will reshape Doc Rivers’ front office

Lawrence Frank
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The Clippers have dug themselves into a hole with their roster construction.

Barring Kevin Durant accepting seemingly unfavorable terms or a great trade for Blake Griffin emerging, the Clippers’ ideal offseason is probably just overpaying Jeff Green, Austin Rivers and Jamal Crawford and hoping Cole Aldrich somehow accepts the mid-level exception. Too close to the salary cap and possessing the trio’s Bird Rights, the Clippers don’t have many other options.

One thing they can do: Try to avoid similar binds in the future.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

The Los Angeles Clippers have reached agreement with assistant coach Lawrence Frank on a promotion to executive vice president of basketball operations, reporting directly to president and coach Doc Rivers, league sources told The Vertical.

Frank will be charged with reshaping the franchise’s front office, including building out the infrastructure of its scouting, sports science and long-term strategic planning, sources said.

Rivers is a good coach, but he has struggled running the front office. It’s too much work for one person, and Rivers has just fallen into acquiring players he previously coached, had success against him or are related to him.

Maybe Frank, whose background is also in coaching, will do better. At minimum, the former assistant coach will be committed to just the one job.

Warriors interested in Stephen Jackson as coach, but he wants to make comeback as player

SAN ANTONIO, TX - JUNE 15:  Steve Kerr #25 and Stephen Jackson #3 of the San Antonio Spurs celebrate defeating the New Jersey Nets in game six of the 2003 NBA Finals on June 15, 2003 at the SBC Center in San Antonio, Texas.  The Spurs won 88-77 and defeated the Nets to win the NBA Championship.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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What’s a wilder idea, a team wanting Stephen Jackson to coach or Jackson coming back as a player?

How about both?

Marc Stein of ESPN:

The 38-year-old Jackson last played in the 2013-14 season, when he played nine games for the Clippers. He announced his retirement last year. I’d be shocked if an NBA team signs him.

I’m also a surprised the Warriors want him as a coach.

Jackson feuded with coaches, good and bad. Their was a tenacity to his game that, while effective, doesn’t necessarily translate to coaching. Perhaps, he can harness it, but it’s an awkward fit on paper.

Clippers’ reported primary pitch to Kevin Durant involves him taking pay cut to play with Chris Paul, DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 22:  Kevin Durant #35 of the Oklahoma City Thunder makes a pass to Serge Ibaka #9 around DeAndre Jordan #6 and Blake Griffin #32 of the Los Angeles Clippers during a 109-97 Thunder win at Staples Center on January 22, 2013 in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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Kevin Durant will meet with the Thunder, Warriors, Spurs, Celtics, Heat and Clippers once free agency begins. Even if he’s favoring one team or another, each of those six will get a chance to sway him.

One team’s approach though already looks less than than inspiring.

Dan Woike of The Orange County Register:

While all options will be discussed, the Clippers are expected to a highlight a scenario in which Durant would sign a deal to play alongside Chris Paul, DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin.

To make the most competitive offer possible, the Clippers would have to trade J.J. Redick, Paul Pierce and C.J. Wilcox and renounce the rights to first-round pick Brice Johnson and all of their own free agents.

The Clippers could also discuss scenarios in which they trade one member of their “Big Three,” either to a team with cap space or to the Thunder in a sign-and-trade.

If the Clippers clear their roster of everyone but Paul, Jordan and Griffin, they still couldn’t offer Durant a max contract. Maybe he’d accept less (projected to be about $7 million less over a four-year contract). But would that really be his most appealing option? Even with Durant, shedding every other player – including the underrated Redick – would leave the Clippers vulnerable.

Or the Clippers could trade one of their stars to clear cap space, but that would make them less impressive on the court. Durant probably wouldn’t be keen on that.

The Clippers’ best bet is probably convincing Durant to take a one-year contract then hoping they’re better positioned in 2017.