The marriage started the way so many everlasting unions…

The marriage started the way so many everlasting unions do. “We couldn’t stand each other,” Butler says. It was December 2011, and Thibodeau had a lot on his mind: Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, a lockout-condensed schedule and Miami’s Big Three. Butler, the last pick of the first round, was not a priority. At practice, Bulls assistant coach Adrian Griffin would tell Butler to make 20 corner threes and the rookie would bristle: “Why? It won’t matter, anyway. Thibs doesn’t want me here. I’m not going to play tomorrow. I’m not going to play the game after that. I’m not going to play 10 games after that.” He was sure he’d spend the next decade in Turkey. At halftime Butler would trail Griffin to the locker room and plead, “Talk to Thibs! Tell him I’m ready!” Once, Griffin persuaded Thibodeau to put the rook in a game and call a pick-and-roll. Butler promptly turned the ball over. “See!” Thibodeau barked at Griffin. “I told you!”
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December 17, 2017 | 5:23 pm EST Update
The 2011 All-Star Game took place in Los Angeles. The night before, with the Nuggets’ permission, the Nets’ upper crust — owner Mikhail Prokhorov, Chairman of the Board, Dmitry Razumov, CEO Brett Yormark, part owner Jay-Z and GM Billy King — met with Melo and agent Leon Rose at Philippe Chow restaurant in Beverly Hills. “Carmelo liked everything we were pitching,” King said yesterday. “He understood, if the Knicks refused to give the Nuggets everything and everyone they wanted, he’d play one season in Newark before we moved to Brooklyn.”