After the Bulls had been eliminated from the playoffs, the rumors started: There was tension between stars Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler. There is only one basketball and they weren’t sharing it well, the stories went.
Since then, Butler has gone on record denying any issue.
That continued Wednesday. Butler — who got an invite to Team USA mini-camp in Las Vegas this summer — was on ESPN’s First Take this week and again denied that there was any tension between him and Rose.
“I think he’s always been supportive of me being aggressive, especially on offense,” Butler said … “We all know that I’ll be the aggressor on defense. So from what I can tell, the guy’s always been in my corner…
“The only reason that it came up is because we lost,” Butler said. “I don’t think we have any beef or whatever you want to call it. I think we just want to win. We didn’t win, so now [people say] we’re beefing, now we have a problem with each other, and I don’t think that’s the case.”
Butler has admitted in the past not everyone in the Bulls locker room has gotten along in recent years, but he said his issues were never with Rose.
If there was tension around touches and shots in Tom Thibodeau’s grind-it-out offense, then new coach Fred Hoiberg’s up-tempo, motion offense should help diffuse things. Everybody’s going to get touches if they hustle and move off the ball.
What would really help smooth over everything in Chicago? Winning. As in, be the team in the East that is the biggest threat to Cleveland winning. The Bulls on paper look like a team that can be a threat, but now they have to make that promise a reality.