Jimmy Butler says his chemistry with Derrick Rose will get better

9 Comments

Jimmy Butler just signed a contract extension with the Chicago Bulls and will be wearing red and black for at least four more seasons. Derrick Rose is under contract with Chicago for at least two more seasons.

So while there are plenty of reports of tension between the two guards — which Butler has denied but may have spilled over into the playoffs last year — Butler took a pretty logical approach to it speaking on a Chicago radio show, as transcribed by ESPN.

Both of them are going to be there, so they better figure it out.

“I think we can,” Butler said Wednesday on “The Waddle and Silvy Show” on ESPN 1000, when asked about his chemistry with Rose. “I think we will. And I think we better, because the way I look at it, I don’t think either one of us is going anywhere anytime soon.”

Specifically how do you solve the concerns? Win. This is America and here that cures all ills.

“We didn’t win,” Butler said. “That’s it. When you don’t win, somebody’s got to find something to blame it on….

“Whenever we win, all of this is going right out the window,” Butler said. “Whenever we start winning at the beginning of the season when we’re going through everything, it’s not an issue.”

Last season when Butler and Rose were on the court together, the Bulls were 2.9 points per 100 possessions better than their opponents, which is pretty close to the team’s +3.3 for the season. The Bulls offense was a little better than averaged with the two guards paired, but the defense a little worse.

The question is how both will buy into and execute new coach Fred Hoiberg’s more modern NBA offense next season, one with plenty of ball screens and off-the-ball action (ala Golden State). The offense isn’t going to be as straight ahead like what Tom Thibodeau ran.

Butler is spot on about the big picture — both of these guys are going to be Bulls for a while. If they want to win, they had better get along. The Bulls are one of the second tier of teams in the East that can rise up and try to challenge Cleveland, but they need to get their own house in order first.

That starts with Rose and  Butler being on the same page.

NBA being sued for missed rent payments amid coronavirus shutdown

NBA Store
Jeenah Moon/Getty Images
Leave a comment

The NBA has been sued by the owners of the building that houses the NBA Store, who say the league owes more than $1.2 million after not paying rent in April or May.

The league responded by saying it doesn’t believe the suit has merit, because it was forced to close the New York store due to the coronavirus pandemic.

NBA Media Ventures, LLC is required to pay $625,000 of its $7.5 million annual fee on the first day of each month under teams of its lease with 535-545 FEE LLC, according to the suit filed Tuesday in New York.

The NBA entered into the lease agreement for the property at 545 Fifth Ave. in November 2014.

Counting other fees such as water, the owners of the building are seeking more than $1.25 million.

“Like other retail stores on Fifth Avenue in New York City, the NBA Store was required to close as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Under those circumstances, we don’t believe these claims have any merit,” NBA spokesman Mike Bass said. “We have attempted, and will continue to attempt, to work directly with our landlord to resolve this matter in a manner that is fair to all parties.”

The NBA suspended play on March 11 because of the coronavirus pandemic and faces hundreds of millions of dollars in losses this season, even as it works toward trying to resume play in July.

NBA latest timeline has games starting in late July, early August in Orlando

Michael Hickey/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Anyone hoping for a rapid return of the NBA is going to be disappointed (and hasn’t been paying attention to how Adam Silver operates).

The NBA continues to carefully move toward a return to games, likely with 16 or more likely 20 teams in Orlando at the Walt Disney World resort complex. Expect players to report in mid-July with games now looking like they start late July to early August, allowing more time for the league to get medical and testing protocols and equipment in place. This according to multiple reports, including Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reiterated that timeline. While Adam Silver and the NBA owners will be on a conference call Friday, no hard-and-fast timeline decisions are expected at that point.

The format for the NBA’s return also is not yet set, but momentum has shifted in the past couple of weeks away from bringing all 30 teams into the Orlando bubble/campus to finish some portion of the regular season. That would be too many people and too much risk for too little reward.

Instead, the restart likely will have either 16 teams — going straight into the playoffs — or 20 teams, with a play-in tournament of some kind (maybe a World Cup soccer-style group phase). And, as Marc Stein of the New York Times notes (and he is not alone), there is a push to have the clumped 9-12 seeds in the West — Portland, New Orleans, San Antonio, and Sacramento — be the four additional teams brought in (along with the 16 playoff teams).

Teams who last in the playoffs past the first round could be in Orlando for months, which is why the NBA will allow family members to come to Orlando for the later rounds, report Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne at ESPN.

Conversations have centered on the timing of family arrivals at the Walt Disney Resort, which are likely to start once an initial wave of teams are eliminated and the number of people within the league’s bubble decreases, sources said.

Family members would be subjected to the same safety and testing protocols as everyone else living in the NBA’s biosphere, sources said.

Considering how long players on contending teams could be in Orlando — from mid-July until mid-to-late September, and maybe longer — allowing family to join them is the right thing to do.

NBA Commissioner Silver is trying to make a return as safe as he can and build as much consensus as he can, although he will not get anything absolute in either case. It’s in his nature to move cautiously, especially through uncharted waters like these. The NBA will have games again this summer, but earlier timelines have proved to be a bit optimistic.

LeBron James, others around NBA speak out after death of George Floyd

KEREM YUCEL/AFP via Getty Images
Leave a comment

George Floyd died Monday while saying “I can’t breathe” as a Minneapolis police officer pinned him to the ground and put his knee on his neck for an extended time. A video of Floyd’s death prompted a severe backlash, including the firing of four police officers, FBI and Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension investigations, and public protests.

Floyd’s death also sparked frustration and outrage among NBA players and they took to social media to speak out, as they have had to do too often in the past with the deaths of black men at the hands of police. Many followed the lead of LeBron James in posting on Instagram an image of a policeman kneeling on Floyd’s neck juxtaposed with Colin Kaepernick kneeling on the sidelines of an NFL game during the national anthem.

View this post on Instagram

STILL!!!! 🤬😢😤

A post shared by LeBron James (@kingjames) on

No one around the NBA was hit harder than former player and current ESPN analyst Stephen Jackson, who knew Floyd and was devastated by the news. He called Floyd by his nickname, Twin.

Other NBA players took to Twitter and Instagram, here is just a sampling.

 

Knicks reportedly to start coaching search, Tom Thibodeau tops list

Jevone Moore/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
Leave a comment

With the NBA nearing a return in some format, one that could leave the 12th seeded Knicks home until next season, New York’s new president Leon Rose is cranking up his coaching search.

And Tom Thibodeau is on top of their list, reports Shams Charania and Mike Vorkunov at The Athletic.

The New York Knicks and president of basketball operations Leon Rose will soon embark on the search process for a new head coach and Tom Thibodeau is atop the list of targets, sources told The Athletic. The Knicks are believed to be targeting a decision in the next few weeks, sources said…

Former Brooklyn Nets coach Kenny Atkinson likely will also receive an interview, sources said. Atkinson and the Nets parted ways in March with the team at 28-34 and on the way to the postseason during a difficult fourth season at the helm. Atkinson helped turn the franchise around during his tenure, taking it from a 20-win team in 2016-17 to a playoff team last season and one that proved to be an attractive destination for Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in free agency. He was a Knicks assistant for four seasons under head coach Mike D’Antoni.

Thibodeau, or Atkinson, or whoever gets the job, will be the Knicks’ sixth coach in six seasons. The new coach needs to create a culture and some sense of stability in a franchise that has had precious little of it since James Dolan took over running the team.

Tom Thibodeau wants to return to NBA coaching, and his decades-long friendship with Rose made him the frontrunner from the start.

Is Thibodeau the right fit? That depends. Thibodeau’s history is that of a win-now coach who leans on veterans (which led GM Thibodeau to make some questionable decisions in Minnesota). The Knicks are trying to build up a core of young players and a culture that can be a foundation for winning in the future. Is Thibodeau the best coach to do that? Thibodeau says he has grown and will bring a new perspective to his next job.

The Knicks have a young core but also feel they are well positioned to trade for a star if one becomes available. That kind of bold trade would be the Knicks way, this has never been a patient franchise willing to build slow and smart (as the Nets did, building a core with enough financial flexibility to attract Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving). A trade can work, if it’s the right star put into the right system with the right players around him.

Bottom line, whoever gets the Knicks job has a lot of work to do to build a winner. They just have to hope they are given enough time to do it.