Jimmy Butler, Chicago Bulls’ all-star wing, and new coach Fred Hoiberg didn’t get off to a great start last season.
In December, Butler didn’t refrain from calling out the coach after a narrow defeat to the New York Knicks. Butler felt that Hoiberg needed to “coach harder” to revive the Bulls, who eventually missed out on a playoff berth in the first season of the post-Tom Thibodeau era.
Jimmy Butler no longer on trading block…
With Butler and Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg at loggerheads, several teams tried to acquire Butler ahead of the February 18 deadline and tried to do so again on Draft Day last week. But it seems like Chicago isn’t willing to part with Butler. And why should they? Butler averages 27/7/7 without Derrick Rose on the floor. The Bulls will go where Butler takes them, he’s the new franchise player.
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Hoiberg has acknowledged Butler’s importance to the team’s fortunes next season. “Jimmy and I have pretty much been in constant communication since the season’s been over,” the Bulls coach said at a press conference to introduce 2016 lottery pick Denzel Valentine.
In fact, Hoiberg revealed that he flew out to Los Angeles last month to chat with Butler about the next season. “Being able to sit with him face-to-face, I talked to him on the phone two days ago, he’s in a great frame of mind right now. His focus right now as well as being on this team is what he’s going to do in representing Team USA,” said the 43-year-old who guided Iowa State to back-to-back Big 12 titles before joining the Bulls for his first coaching assignment in the NBA.
According to ESPN, Butler “rubbed some teammates and executives the wrong way last season as he tried to take a more vocal approach in the locker room”. The Minnesota Timberwolves and Boston Celtics came close to acquiring Butler via trade last week. But Chicago is ready to move past the indifferences and hand Jimmy Butler the keys to the franchise.
When asked if he can coach Butler next season, Hoiberg exclaimed: “Absolutely I can”.