Bulls players continue to be immune to front office dysfunction

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CLEVELAND – Dysfunction derails most teams.

The Bulls players seem to wrap themselves in it like it’s a warm blanket on a cold night.

Call it familiarity thanks to a front office that can’t help but deal in the art of drama.

So on a night in which players like Dwyane Wade continued to question the decision making of the very public Rajon Rondo benching, the Bulls still managed to go out and handle the first-place Cleveland Cavaliers, 106-94, at the Quicken Loans Arena on Wednesday.

As for Rondo, he again didn’t see the floor for a third consecutive game – coach’s decision.

“It’s a tough situation,’’ Wade said. “There are a lot of players on this team that don’t really understand. But it’s not for us to understand. It’s our job to play. He’s a teammate of ours. You never know what happens. We stick together. He’s been doing a great job of [handling] it.’’

Rondo did call for a meeting with the Bulls front office over the weekend, and got it, meeting with both general manager Gar Forman and VP of basketball operations John Paxson. Not much was resolved for the veteran, however, as he made it clear to both that continuing to sit him means that Rondo wants to be elsewhere.

Rondo left it as an almost to be continued.

And while the Bulls front office is open to listening to the likes of Wade and star Jimmy Butler, both seem willing to stay out of it, focusing on making sure that Rondo mentally remains in a good place.

Wade was the latest to insist that he got out of the business of front office suggestions long ago.

“When I was a young player in Miami and I was making my way up the ranks, I think they got me involved in certain things,’’ Wade said. “And then it started becoming very uncomfortable. When guys that you’re teammates of and they start talking about trades and all this stuff, and I just said, ‘You know what? Don’t involve me in it.’

“When it comes to obviously calling guys trying to help better your team and all those things, I’ve always been involved in that. But when it comes to decisions that have to be made on players and stuff like that, I don’t get paid to do that.’’

No, the pay is in the play, and that was on full display by Butler in the fourth quarter against the Cavs. After a slow start in which Butler was 2-for-11 for just six points through three quarters, the two-time All-Star took over with 6:24 left in the game.

The Cavs (26-8), who were without Kyrie Irving (hamstring) and Kevin Love (flu), cut the deficit to just one, and Butler drew the charge on LeBron James, followed by a three-pointer. He then hit a mid-range jumper and two free throws to grow the lead back out to eight.

By the time the smoke cleared, Butler scored 14 in the final quarter to finish with 20, and get the Bulls (18-18) back to the .500 mark.

“The guy that wears No. 3 [Wade] on this team came to me and was like, ‘Win the game,’ ‘’ Butler said of his performance. “So I guess the switch cut on. Get a couple baskets and try and get some stops on the defensive end. I think I did alright in that.

“I can’t let D-Wade down. D-Wade’s been doing that for years. I think it was my time to step up.’’

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