Sources have indicated that privately Butler differs from that opinion. But he was willing to dance the dance with his boss on Friday. “No, I don’t,’’ Butler said, when asked if he took those comments of simply being a piece to build with personally. “No organization is the same. Everybody operates differently. Everybody has different personnel. I don’t care if anybody wants to build around me. Just win. At the end of the day, when you win, everything is fine whether you’re built around or not built around. Everybody’s happy. All of that is just background noise. I just want to win at all costs.’’
Hamilton told a story on NBA Crossover (in the video above) about a Bulls film session in 2011-2012, the first of his two seasons with the team. "One of the coaches, assistant coaches, spits out, 'Randy has nothing to do with this team, he doesn't need to be around the players.' Looked at every man that was in that film session and pretty much told them, 'Hey, don't listen to him. When he comes and talks to you, don't listen to him.' And for me, as a veteran guy just coming from Detroit, I was like, 'What is going on around here?' Because every conversation I had with Randy was always good, was always love. So it's kind of like a situation where, like, man, I don't know what's going on between management and the coaches. And now, as you see, it's coming out again."
Butler and other Bulls have had issues with the “spying’’ that goes on in the locker room. He warned new players that if they didn’t want Forman to hear criticism, they shouldn’t talk in front of certain assistant coaches such as Randy Brown. The belief is that the Bulls love to gather as much ammunition as they can on players, so they can win the news conference when the breakup comes, whether it’s a trade or free agency.
Jeff Zillgitt: Rondo apologizes and team says they've cleared the air as front office tries to trade Rondo or waive him. twitter.com/highkin/status…
Nick Friedell: Rajon Rondo says he has a meeting with Bulls GM Gar Forman later tonight. Says he will talk to Forman about his future in Chicago if he continues to stay on the bench.
“Gar (Forman, Bulls GM) and I will have a talk. We’ll talk tonight and go from there. I don’t know if it’s right now, maybe the next 30, 18, 45 minutes. Tonight, before ’17 (the clock strikes midnight).”
A source told CSNChicago.com early Saturday evening a buyout hadn’t been discussed, but that was before the game and things can change quickly. “I’m gonna explode…No, I’m not,” said Rondo when asked what he’d do if the benching continued. “I’m gonna continue to work, get some work in, play some one on one. Take care of my body, lift and give these young guys as much advice while I’m on the bench.”
Rondo signed a two-year, $27.4 million deal, but the second year carries only a $3 million guarantee. If the Bulls chose to waive Rondo — and there aren't yet indications they plan to do so — that $3 million can be stretched over three seasons for an annual $1 million salary-cap hit. Hoiberg met with Rondo, who holds little trade value, Saturday morning at the Advocate Center.
By then, one wonders if the Bulls and Rondo will be working on a buyout to free him from the remainder of his contract — one that includes a $3 million buyout that has to be exercised before next July. “No, I’m not surprised. Not surprised,” Rondo said. “It’s been a tough season. Certain buttons are being pushed and the Bulls are trying to figure things out.”
He also addressed the team’s biggest need directly. “The area we really do need to improve is with our athleticism,” Paxson said. “That’s been evident this year. We’ve got some vets who know how to play and can score. But when you look around the league and the way the game is now, that’s an area we have to address. That is a part of the plan. We’ll try to do that obviously through the draft and free agency if we can. You always have the trade option. Right now, our roster is what it is.”
Thibodeau swears he didn’t need the dual roles, though given the public friction between Thibodeau and Bulls management during his tenure in Chicago from 2010-15, it’s understandable that he might want it. “It wasn’t an absolute,” Thibodeau told The Vertical. “The biggest thing for me was alignment. Not that you have to agree on everything. When you put competitive people together, there are going to be disagreements. But once a decision is made, you have to be aligned. There has to be a belief system. [Boston’s] Danny [Ainge] and Doc [Rivers, who coached the Celtics from 2004-13], they were very much together. Danny was very inclusive. Danny talked to me every day. I learned a lot from that. And I have that here.”
KC Johnson: Bulls officially announce Chip Schaefer hire as Director of Sports Performance reported last month.
But Butler's emboldened state after landing a max contract led to several disruptive moments throughout the season, in film sessions and on the practice floor, sources said. That they continued sometimes unchecked throughout the season didn't bode well for team chemistry, which started to fray in Thibodeau's last season. In fact, that reason is why there's optimism for Hoiberg's future. Even management now believes this core was held together one season too long, that any coach would've struggled to overcome this tired team's tendency to give in to adversity.
All indications are executive vice president John Paxson and general manager Gar Forman will lead that attempt. Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf long has valued management continuity and praises Paxson in any rare interview. Forman has cultivated a strong relationship with Michael Reinsdorf, the team's president and chief executive officer. Their wives run the Bulls' charity arm.
Hoiberg is viewed as his hire, though it was signed off on unanimously. Forman prevailed in the internal debate over whether to try to finalize a Pau Gasol-to-the-Kings trade deadline deal, though there was sentiment that with Mike Dunleavy just back the team could make a run as well as not loving the return from the Kings. Forman then publicly doubled down on re-signing Gasol, calling him part of the core. That stance has softened with Noah a priority, sources said, and Gasol also will entertain free-agency options.
September 25, 2022 | 6:25 am EDT Update
Thybulle chose to do everything he could do mentally and physically to be the best version of himself as a player and person. He’s learned that it’s more about the journey than the destination. “At this point, I would always want to stay in Philly,” he said. “And if it’s up to me, that’s always going to be my choice. “But considering that I’ve realized the reality of how far out of my control it is, if I do get traded or something does end up happening, I can look at myself in the mirror at the end of the day.”
Shortly after mentioning the inspiration he takes from John Wall’s struggles with injury, he spoke on how he relates to that and how the narratives pushed by Shaquille O’Neal and Charles Barkley make it harder to mentally overcome the obstacles: “People go through it… Doesn’t matter how much money you got, how famous you are, like it’s real, people go through everyday struggles… I think it’s kinda ignorant, like Shaq and Chuck sometimes what they’re saying. ‘Cause they have a platform to kind of like protect us and, you know, do good. Um, obviously they’re supposed to criticize us, you know, we’re basketball players. But when it comes to personal stuff there’s a level of respect they should have. Even Shaq, like, when I was dealing with everything going on, I actually messaged him and he put it out. And I was like, alright.”
With Shaq, it hurt even more for Simmons because O’Neal and Simmons both went to LSU. According to Simmons, that has been a point of connection for Shaq and Simmons previously, but O’Neal wasn’t checking in on his Tiger brother and ensuring he was OK: “I DM’d him and I was like, ‘why are you saying this if you don’t even know the story?’ ‘Cause he always wants to say like yo, we’re LSU brothers, you’re my brother, all this, that. If you’re my LSU brother you would’ve reached out by now and it’s been months since I’ve been dealing with this. You ain’t reached out once and said like, ‘hey, you OK? Like, what’s going on.’”
Thybulle’s goal was to have the Sixers see for themselves the work he put in and the offensive improvements that he’s made. And it worked. “Matisse has been the most consistent player in Camden this summer, putting in countless hours on his game that will for sure pay dividends going forward,” said Daryl Morey, the Sixers president of basketball operations. “We are excited about his future.”
“I’m really proud of what I did,” Thybulle said of his offseason. “I’ve worked harder than I’ve worked. “And I had a meeting with [Sixers coach Doc Rivers] early this week and was telling him I feel more bought in than I’ve been before.” Don’t get it twisted. Thybulle didn’t lack effort in the past. “It’s just a different feeling you feel when you can see how much more of yourself when you are giving to your craft,” he said, “and to the team and surrendering to the work and living to whatever the outcome can be.”
After making the post that defended Udoka on Thursday night, Barnes said that he got a call from some that “had all the details – this [expletive] is deep.” “I try to report and talk with facts and honesty and I clearly have to say last night without knowing all the facts,” Barnes said in an Instagram post Friday. “I spoke on Ime Udoka’s defense. After finding out the facts after I spoke, I erased what I posted because this situation in Boston is deep, it’s messy, it’s 100 times uglier than any of us thought. That’s why I erased what I said.”
“Kobe said he was gonna set the tone to start the game and he said, ‘I’m running through Pau’s chest’,” LeBron James revealed in the documentary. “First play of the game I’m running through Pau Gasol.’ And we was like, ‘What?'” Dwyane Wade added. “He said, ‘First play of the game, I know what they’re gonna run.’ And he knew Pau was gonna be the last screen and he said ‘I’m running through him.'” As predicted, Bryant intentionally ran right through Gasol hard on Spain’s first possession and received a defensive foul. The entire US team started believing Kobe’s words instantly, James recalls. Gasol himself revealed that Kobe visited the Spanish national team in the Olympic Village before the game. The big man believes it was a part of the plan to soften both Pau and the entire Spanish squad.