The Bulls have emerged as a national story over the past week what with their locker-room and social-media rantings. And the latest Lowe Post podcast with host Zach Lowe of ESPN was All-Bulls, with guest Nick Friedell (also of ESPN).
It started off with Lowe noticing a Jimmy Butler ‘leader-y’ moment in the Sixers win, where Butler demonstrably called out Felicio after a missed rotation. I can’t find a complete video of it, but you can see most of it here:
It went on from there for a bit as Lowe and Friedell not only debated Jimmy’s status as the leader of the team (Lowe noted Jimmy+Wade’s leadership has been seen as ‘too negative’) but how the Bulls are themselves ‘divided’. Friedell reiterated something he wrote recently, that the Bulls management is refusing to publicly back Butler and say they’re indeed building around him. And that they’d be willing to trade Butler and are just hoping for a better price. Lowe wouldn’t confirm that the Bulls feel this way, but said other teams’ execs are looking into Butler hoping it’s the case.
For what it’s worth, Lowe said he expects Jimmy to remain simply because he’s too good to trade (“9th best player in the league”) and that the whole question of whether you can build a “championship team” around Butler is somewhat pointless since that pertains to like, three guys.
Moving on to the rest of the current mess, there was lots of talk about the Bulls recent drafting, signing of Rondo/Wade, and of course Fred Hoiberg. Essentially, the recent failures of draft picks may not be due to draft scouting alone.
What was surprising, and I think something I agree with, is Lowe’s assertion that the Bulls aren’t really performing that poorly given to what should’ve been their expectations. They are not a truly bad team, but mediocre and thus still firmly in the East playoff race. There is the brutal road trip coming up but Lowe notes that with no back-to-backs the Bulls could be just fine. I fear this to be the case too, just enough pointless wins to keep the status quo.