The source of Wade’s and Butler’s frustration?
Sources said Nikola Mirotic and Carter-Williams have frustrated Wade and Butler more than most players and that both Wade and Butler addressed players privately before airing their frustrations to reporters.
After a promising start to his career, Mirotic has declined each season. Carter-Williams has now fallen out of favor with at least two teams since winning Rookie of the Year, the Bucks and Bulls removing him from the starting lineup in the last two years. (It’s unclear whether the 76ers lost faith in Carter-Williams or just traded him because an extremely valuable draft pick became available.)
But, coupled with Wade’s and Butler’s criticism, the slipping production of the two younger players is circumstantial evidence of a problem.
That’s not the Bulls’ only problem, though. There’s a clear rift in the locker room. Butler has become a legitimate star, and Wade’s has an elite résumé while maintaining quality production. They’ve earned a right to lead, and if teammates aren’t following, Wade and Butler expressing frustration isn’t a cardinal sin. It might be misguided depending on what’s happening internally, but it’s not a monumental violation of decorum.
Lesser players like Mirotic, Carter-Williams and now Rondo don’t get the same leeway. They can try to get Wade and Butler to set a different tone, but it’s ultimately up to the three sub-stars to fall in line.