Antoine Walker told ESPN recently that former Chicago Bull Jimmy Butler wasn’t a good leader.
Walker, a former All-Star who last played in the NBA in 2008, conducted an interview with ESPN on Monday and talked about the negative influence Jimmy Butler had in the Chicago Bulls‘ locker room. He elaborated and said that Butler was a weak leader who was selfish to some extent.
“He’s just a bad locker room guy,” Walker said. “A lot of outbursts took place throughout the season, with the coaches, with the players.”
After the last couple of years, I wouldn’t be surprised if this was true. Butler has a fiery personality, and the Bulls have had their share of dysfunction. They fired head coach Tom Thibodeau after the 2014-15 season — a campaign where they won 50 games and lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers in six games in the second round of the playoffs.
Since hiring Fred Hoiberg, they have yet to replicate that success. In the last two seasons, Chicago’s won 42 and 41 games, respectively, and made just one playoff appearance. They lost to the Boston Celtics in the first round. In those years, Butler has become a star, but the Bulls lacked an identity. With Thibs, they were a feared defensive team, at least.
Chicago traded Butler to the Minnesota Timberwolves on draft night, and I assume it’s to start their rebuild. In return, they got Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn and the draft rights to Lauri Markkanen. However, this won’t fix the problems that are in the front office.
To say that Butler was a bad leader because he had “outbursts” isn’t right. All players lead differently, and it wasn’t too long ago that Kobe Bryant called his Lakers team “soft as Charmin” during practice.
I don’t know Butler, but he seems like a no-nonsense kind of guy; someone who would want to sit down and talk about any problems that he felt were present. Maybe the front office didn’t want to deal with that. Of course, this is all speculation.
Regardless, both parties have since moved on and are looking toward the future.
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