Joe Cowley is garbage, but I’ll give him this much: he can reach Jimmy Butler by cellphone. And he got some quotes from Butler in response to the cavalier (not Cavaliers) assertion earlier this week by fellow take-artist-at-the-expense-of-believeability Nick Friedell that Wade is disliked by the young Bulls:
‘‘Hell, probably some of them can’t stand or don’t like me...but if they dislike him because the guy wants to win, well, then that team has some serious problems on the way.’’
Oh man, does this team ever have serious problems on the way...
But the blowup last season between Butler/Wade and the young players (and their beloved Rajon Rondo) likely deserves some kind of retrospection.
On the one hand, what Butler and Wade said after that particular game didn’t really make sense and was unfair to the younger Bulls. Especially in the context (which was mentioned by Friedell and others) that Wade himself was obviously coasting in the games, and didn’t practice much.
On the other hand, Wade is old and going to the Hall of Fame, and was brought in with that status in mind. Here’s Gar Forman just a year ago about the guy they now desperately want to pay to play somewhere else: “a great veteran perspective on the court and in the locker room”, and someone Gar acknowledged would be on a different minutes schedule.
So while you could argue that the stars of last season were out of line, you could also reason that they have actual talent, whereas the Bulls young core is full of losers lacking talent (the ol’ L.L.T.) that isn’t worth coddling. Bobby Portis will flex after a put-back when his team’s down 18, and Denzel Valentine last year danced his way to a loss (though I did love his response to that). Michael Carter-Williams is already gone, and Cameron Payne might as well be. So trying to scapegoat Dwyane Wade out the door is just a common tactic of Bulls management more than a true help to a fragile young locker room.
[and the lack of any mention of a coach through all this speaks for itself]
Back to management, Butler also had this to say about the long-time headband prohibitionists:
‘‘I just think they make it tough to be yourself, to be who you are and express yourself the way you want to express yourself,’’ Butler said. ‘‘I’m not a part of that organization anymore — but if I am speaking on that time [of calling out the young players and getting fined] . . . there’s no reason for disliking a guy for speaking the truth.”