LOS ANGELES — The conversation was long overdue. Jimmy Butler and Derrick Rose meeting one-on-one, getting on “the same page,” as Butler said.
The meeting was Wednesday night, and their play in the Bulls’ victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday showcased the results.
Rather than looking like two talented pick-up players having to coexist, they looked like teammates trying to excel.
Certainly, this relationship has room for growth, and Butler is determined to make that happen.
“We had a long conversation” Butler told the Sun-Times. “That’s the type of guys that we now are. Just checking in, wanting each other to be successful. Making sure we’re both healthy because as a backcourt, it’s important that we’re both doing OK and on the same page.”
Butler, a two-time All-Star, is known not only for his rigorous offseason workouts, but also spending summers fixing holes in his game. While Rose’s game has improved the last month, it was clear there was room for much more improvement.
Butler took Doug McDermott under his wing last summer, giving him a two-week glimpse into the “Camp Butler’’ experience. Why not Rose this summer?
“That’s a good question,” Butler said. “Maybe spend a little time together, training in the summer, yes. But you have to understand that he’s got a family. He’s comfortable where he’s comfortable at. I think that’s very important. Just like in the offseason I like to spend a lot of time with my brothers. My trainers are a part of my family now, so we’re always together. But I definitely think it’s a good idea. Me and him, work out together.”
Knowing that Rose likes to spend time with friends and family, Butler said he would bring his workout regimen to Rose rather than drag Rose to some remote place where Butler likes to train.
“Yeah, I’d be willing to do that,” Butler said. “Just get around each other, get even more comfortable with each other because I think we’re going to be here together playing for a long time. So I think it’s a great idea, yes.”
Butler’s belief that he and Rose will be together for a while is interesting, considering Rose is a free agent after next season. Was Butler told something about Rose’s future when Butler was negotiating his five-year, $92.3 million deal last offseason?
He wouldn’t say.
But what Butler did say is something Rose should be open to.
Even when the point guard wasn’t rehabbing in the offseason, there were always questions about the work he puts in. Even last offseason, Rose said he spent a lot of time on the track.
That would be great if the Bulls needed him to run the 100-yard dash, but they need him primarily working on that flat outside shot, among other deficiencies in his game.
Rose and Butler training together also would improve their relationship. The two always have maintained a friendly existence, but multiple sources have spoken of a collision of egos since last season.
With Rose now seemingly willing to let Butler lead the way, maybe pride can be pushed aside and the two can work out together this summer.
“It would definitely put an end to all that speculation of our relationship, yeah,” Butler said. “I don’t even know why there would be anything into that now. Me and him are great.”
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