In case you hadn't heard, Jimmy Butler is a member of the USABMNT. Also in case you hadn't heard, Dwyane Wade is a member of the Bulls...as is Rondo. What we hadn't yet heard are Jimmy's thoughts on his new teammates.
As the men's national team gears up its practice schedule, Butler met with media and gave his first extended interview since the June draft. In true Butler fashion, he intends to be the same guy:
"Like I tell everyone: I'm going to still be the player I am," Butler said after he tacked on an hour of extra work following a two-hour practice. "I'm not going to take a step backward because I have new players on my team. I'm going to still be aggressive. I'm going to still guard. I'm going to still play hard. I just hope that that's enough to make us win."
Recently, many local and national media have questioned whose team is it. Butler's team, Noah's team, Rose's...oops, wrong year. True, Noah and Rose are now members of the Knicks, but to be fair, the "whose team is it" questions still remain this offseason.
Rondo himself has acknowledged the Bulls now have "3 alphas" in the locker-room. But to his credit, he has called the Bulls "Butler's team". Wade has yet to give an extended interview since becoming a member of the Bulls. Though I'm sure he will be looked at as a main alpha figure. But if you think Jimmy will become some quiet laid-back person, guess again.
"I've made a name for myself in this league. I'm going to continue to build upon that," he said. "I want my name to be in there with the greats. I'm not saying it will be, but I'm not saying that it won't be.
"I'll have a voice in the locker room. I'll say what needs to be said. What I want (those) guys to do, whenever I'm on some (B.S.), I want them to tell me. I want you to say my name, man to man. That goes along with everybody. Say my name. And I'm going to do the same to you.
"Whenever you're (B.S.)ing and not doing what you're supposed to be doing in practice and the game or not taking care of your body, you need somebody holding you accountable. You can't beat around the bush and say: 'Hey, guys, we need to take care of our body. Hey, guys, we're taking bad shots.' It's: 'Jimmy, you need to do this. You need to do that.' "
Without trying to parse Jimmy's words too much, his statement definitely implies that he wants to be called out when it's necessary and that he plans on doing the same. So it's fair to expect a decent dose of Jimmy Leader next season. Which isn't to say that's necessarily a bad thing, but hopefully it doesn't backfire. I don't recall someone ever calling out D-Wade...not quite sure how that would work for Jimmy if it came to that. Next season should be an entertaining ride, to say the least.
To finish the earlier thought on Noah and Rose, Butler wishes them well on their new team, but he isn't getting too caught up in their departure
"I’ve been playing with them since I was a first-year player," Butler said. "But I can’t hang my head on that. When I go on the floor, I’ve still got to help this team, the Chicago Bulls, win games. I’m sorry they’re gone, but eventually I’ve got to move on from it."
"Moving On" is definitely a theme for the upcoming season. The Bulls moved on from the Rose/Noah era. Wade moved on. Rondo moved on. Hey, maybe Gar will move on soon? Baby steps.