Thursday, May 21, 2015
SPORTS: TENSION BETWEEN CHICAGO BULLS STAR BACK COURT
Rose was never asked directly why he disappeared when his team needed him most, but sources tell 670 The Score that a common NBA problem affected the Bulls at the worst possible time – two alpha dogs and only one basketball. It looked strange when wing Jimmy Butler kept flashing to Rose’s side of the floor, calling for the ball, as the Bulls’ offense was drying up. Rose was all too happy to oblige instead of waving Butler off and taking charge, either resetting the called play or taking his man – often the undrafted Matthew Dellavedova – hard to the rim for at least a likely foul. Sources describe a passive-aggressive reaction from Rose that was the culmination of tensions building in recent weeks with Butler’s emergence as a primary scorer. Butler is very aware that he won his bet on himself and is poised to reap the reward of a maximum contract from the Bulls, whether or not it takes an offer sheet from another club in restricted free agency this summer. Butler’s emergence was validated by the NBA’s Most Improved Player Award, and he’s now feeling every bit the star, with all that entails. Where Tom Thibodeau was through all of this is unknown, but that this dynamic was allowed to play out isn’t surprising for a coach so entirely focused on what happens when his team doesn’t have the ball. Defensive issues are noticed immediately and corrected, with timeouts, assignment changes or substitutions. On offense for Thibodeau, not so much. Whoever replaces Thibodeau soon must solve this issue right away, because Rose and Butler will soon account for $36 million next year and $38 million the year after, making them the NBA’s most expensive backcourt.