The Chicago Bulls season was a complete disaster as they failed to make the playoffs and more stories are coming out describing how brutal things were in the locker room. The Bulls were in the running to win the Championship, inside the top 10 odds to win as of mid-March. Jimmy Butler and Joakim Noah apparently have a dislike for each other and is causing a rift among the roster.
Joe Cowley reported things would have become uglier if Noah didn’t get injured as the feud between the two was already brewing.
“I talked to several people that have indicated that the best thing that happened to the Bulls, because it could’ve wound up worse, was Joakim Noah going back to New York for his rehab and staying away from this thing. Because he would’ve become a locker room cancer. He had a couple veterans on his side, and I’m telling you right now: if he didn’t get out of town when he did, the little comments and snide remarks to Jimmy Butler…Jimmy wasn’t having any more of those, and you would’ve seen fists thrown.
[Later he referenced it again] I’m telling you, the idea that Noah would’ve held this thing together if he was around…it would’ve instead just been a bigger divide…Jimmy gave Joakim a couple passes at first with his little jokes but told Noah ‘these comments are going to stop.”
The divide apparently began a few years ago and Butler has been sick of Noah’s antics with the hope of taking over the team following his new contract extension.
“This stuff has been festering for 2 years. Last year, when Noah and Derrick Rose were allowed to get away with being pulled out of drills, not having to work as hard….Joakim being convinced by the front office that Thibodeau wasn’t good for his career anymore.
Then you had Jimmy and Pau. Pau is very good [at politicking], saying “you know Jimmy, look at us busting our ass, and look at [Noah and Rose]” to get Jimmy riled up.
Jimmy comes in this year and declares himself the leader, and he has a point. His mindset is: I’ve been paid, I work like it, I take in the young guys, I bust my butt in practice and try and work on my game. Meanwhile [Rose and Noah] get away with whatever they want.
So that started it. Now, once you start beating your chest that way and you have young guys behind you, you slowly have a divide.”
Chicago will have to make big changes in the offseason to get everyone on the same page and become a contender in the East again.