Not true, according to Butler and other current teammates, but the two-time All-Star said he knows where it’s coming from, and frankly doesn’t care. “Am I a diva? I don’t call it that,’’ Butler said before Thursday’s 97-81 loss to Atlanta in their final preseason game. “My will to win rubs people the wrong way sometimes. I can blame it on that, but won’t apologize for it. Never will. “As far as that talk goes, I don’t care. I’m going to keep working and if people don’t like it, people want to say what they want to say, that’s fine. I know, and I think these guys know, where my heart is and how I want to do right by everybody.’’
Storyline: Chicago Bulls Turmoil?
According to multiple sources, a big reason that Joakim Noah and Rose grew tired of Butler’s act was they felt he anointed himself the leader and did so by jumping the line. Butler doesn’t deny that. The problem was Butler felt he had the right to jump that line because he was one of the few starters that was willing to put all the work in. The source said that Butler felt too many of the key veteran players were content with coasting. “I say this in the most humble way possible and I mean that, is the [young players] here see Jimmy Butler the two-time All-Star, the Olympian, a 20-point per game scorer, the player I have been since a lot of these young guys came into the league,’’ Butler said. “They didn’t see the guy that was trying to get off the bench like other people have, and I don’t need to say names. So as my role changed, the way I go about the game changed. If I’m not playing well I’m hurting my team because I’m supposed to be a reason we win. “Now, the way I handle my business is, ‘Look man, I want to win. I don’t give a [expletive] if you like me or not. I’m here to win.’ ‘’
Did teams take you seriously when you first entered free agency? Dwyane Wade: No, they didn’t think it was serious. And rightfully so. I’ve been in one place for 13 years and have a, quote-unquote, legacy in Miami. I’ve opted out of my deal a few times and been back. They didn’t take me seriously. It started getting serious, especially in Chicago, when I talked to Jimmy [Butler] and they realized, “Okay, it’s a little bit more serious.” And then it really got serious when I said [to Chicago], “XYZ, if it happens, I’m there.” There were a few teams I looked at for different reasons, but ultimately, I always said, and people around me know this, “If I’m going to leave Miami, it’s going to be for Chicago.” Did never think that was going to happen. Did never know that was going to happen.
Do you remember the moment you decided you were leaving the Heat? Wade: Yeah, I do. I had just left the meeting with the Heat and wound up going to get some pizza because I knew I had a long night in front of me. Me and my business manager stopped off and got some pizza, and I got back to the hotel and my mind was racing. I was sitting in my manager’s room, and I was thinking about this moment, this decision. I knew that Miami wanted me to make a decision by midnight that night, and I start saying, “Who am I making this decision for?” Once I realized I was making this decision for me, I wanted to be selfish for once.