Jimmy Butler, Derrick Rose will use offseason to try to bond
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MIAMI — What Jimmy Butler wants, Jimmy Butler gets.
That was evident Wednesday after Butler and coach Fred Hoiberg revealed that he and Derrick Rose plan to work out together this offseason.
But there’s a much bigger story beneath the surface.
In January, Butler raised some eyebrows in a Sun-Times article when he said he was willing to work out with Rose in the offseason, much like he did in taking Doug McDermott under his wing last summer and putting him through his excruciating program.
That came across as a shot at Rose’s work ethic, and maybe it was.
The Sun-Times also reported early in the season that Butler and several teammates didn’t respect Rose’s work ethic, especially after Rose was given permission by management last season to sit out many of then-coach Tom Thibodeau’s drills.
A source pointed out that Butler still considered Rose a friend and had no issues with him personally. He just wanted more from his teammate.
Rose and Butler have downplayed any rift, but when discussing plans to work out together, Butler showed his cards a bit.
“That’s more time that we can just spend together,’’ he said. “We know each other’s games pretty well from being around each other on the court, but in the offseason, it will let me know where he really wants the ball, what he’s really, really good at, and the same way for him with me.
“When you’re seeing each other work out and train, you gain a lot of respect for the individual because you see them putting in their time, you know what I mean? I’m not saying that I don’t respect him, but if he sees how much I’m in the gym every day and I see how much he’s in the gym every day, you know that you rhyme with that individual, and I think that’s a very important thing.
“It’s going to be great for both of us.’’
Maybe it will. But that still might not be enough to save this season.
The Bulls’ loss Tuesday in Memphis was soul-crushing in many ways as the team’s playoff hopes continued to fade.
Butler’s disappearing act with Rose back in the lineup stood out, especially after huge back-to-back games with Rose sidelined.
Butler shot 2-for-8 and scored five points while looking completely uninterested. He said it had nothing to do with playing alongside Rose again.
“We’re not winning right now the way that everybody expected us to, so there’s a problem with me and him, just like it was at the end of last year,’’ Butler said. “There’s no problem. I didn’t play well.
“It has nothing to do with him; it has nothing to do with them; it has nothing to do with my coaches; it has everything to do with me. So it’s not if we can coexist. It’s that Jimmy Butler has to play better. Jimmy Butler has to do whatever it takes to help his team win. I’m not being selfish, but it’s the truth.’’
NOTE: The Bulls announced that Horace Grant, who played seven seasons with the Bulls and won three titles with the team, was named special adviser to president and COO Michael Reinsdorf.