Jimmy Butler has a message for some of his former Bulls teammates who might have a ‘‘so-called dislike’’ for Dwyane Wade.
‘‘Hell, probably some of them can’t stand or don’t like me,’’ Butler told the Sun-Times in a phone interview Thursday. ‘‘That’s fine. I’m still waking up fortunate and blessed every day, just like Dwyane is. He still has a fabulous family and a lot more important things to worry about than the opinions of others.
‘‘But if they dislike him because the guy wants to win, well, then that team has some serious problems on the way.’’
Butler, whom the Bulls traded to the Timberwolves on draft night in June, also took issue with a Fox Sports report that he and Wade had some sort of beef with each other last season. He called the report ‘‘crazy.’’
‘‘The only beef he and I could possibly have is who is a better dresser right now,’’ Butler said. ‘‘For that [report] to be floating out there is crazy. As many dinners as me and him have had out here [in California], the trips we’ve taken this summer, I don’t think people that argue would be around each other as much as I like being around D-Wade.
‘‘I just continue to pick his brain and try and get to the level that he is on the basketball court — what he’s done, the way that he’s won. I love that guy like a brother, and he’s done so much for me. Let people talk, but no one knows what they are talking about unless it’s coming from me or D-Wade.’’
Wade and the Bulls are in a staring contest regarding a potential buyout of the $23.8 million he is owed this season. In June, the Sun-Times reported that Wade wanted his money but wanted to play elsewhere and that the Bulls would like Wade gone but at their price. Since then, however, neither side has discussed any sort of settlement.
That has reopened the door on an incident in January in which Wade publicly criticized the young players’ heart and work ethic after
a bad loss to the Hawks. Butler also took shots at the team after that game, but he didn’t single out the young players.
Rajon Rondo then took to his Instagram account to attack Wade’s and Butler’s leadership. By the time the dust settled, the Bulls had fined all three players and benched Butler and Wade for the first quarter of the next game.
According to Butler, the front office’s decision to punish them didn’t affect the way he and Wade led the rest of the season, but it did affect the way they acted.
‘‘I just think they make it tough to be yourself, to be who you are and express yourself the way you want to express yourself,’’ Butler said. ‘‘I’m not a part of that organization anymore — I’m with the Minnesota Timberwolves, and I’m happy about that — but if I am speaking on that time . . . I don’t think there’s nothing wrong with it.
‘‘Not to bring up the past, but that’s the way [Wade] felt. I said some things, too, and we talked about it, and we both said, ‘Yo, I’m not taking back anything.’ There’s no reason for disliking a guy for speaking the truth.’’
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