You can have a winning team where two guys believe they are the alpha on a team — so long as their games mesh. The natural, obvious examples are Shaq and Kobe Bryant, or Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.
The relationship between the two is not the biggest problem — they get along better than Shaq and Kobe ever did — the issue is their games simply do not mesh. In a column calling for Bulls management to trade either Rose or Butler, the Chicago Tribune’s K.C. Johnson laid out why.
Neither possesses knockdown 3-point shooting ability to play well off one another. Both prefer to have the ball. Butler has added a screen-and-roll element to his game that nobody envisioned when he first came into the league.
This has little to do with whether Rose and Butler like each other or get along. Simply put, the two didn’t play well together consistently last season with the Bulls getting outscored by 3.5 points per 100 possessions when both were on the court. If left unaddressed, their uneasy alliance will continue to have a negative effect on the locker room….
Until utilizing them together in screen-and-roll plays more frequently down the stretch, (coach Fred) Hoiberg often called isolation plays for Rose or Butler. The other stood on the perimeter, where their respective 29.3 and 31.1 percent 3-point shooting struck little fear.
NBA teams cannot be constructed like a fantasy team, where collecting the most talent is all that matters — fit is crucial. Mental makeup of players matters. Chemistry is not simply a high school class.
The reality is both Butler and Rose likely are back with the Bulls next season. Rose would be hard to move; he has one year left on his contract at $21.7 million, and the Bulls would need to throw in a sweetener to get a team to take that on, and even then the return would not be great. Butler could bring real value, especially if the Bulls start to think longer-term rebuild, but Butler is the best player on this team and should be part of its future — why would they still be building around Rose? He’s not that player anymore, even as he shows flashes of good play it’s not the pre-injury Rose anymore.
Bulls management errs on the side of caution, so they likely do nothing.
There are no easy, clean, simple answers here for the Bulls. However, the Bulls have two players that think they are the top dog on this team, and these players do not fit well together. A change has to be made, one way or another. It’s become obvious, and it’s time.