During his last season with his hometown Chicago Bulls in 2015-16, Derrick Rose was part of a very dysfunctional group. The team went only 42-40 and missed the playoffs in the Eastern Conference despite having Rose, Jimmy Butler, Pau Gasol, and Joakim Noah on the roster.
The Bulls traded Rose to the New York Knicks in the summer of 2016 and chose not to re-sign Noah in free agency. Meanwhile, Butler lasted one more season in Chicago before getting shipped to the Minnesota Timberwolves on draft night in 2017.
On top of the Bulls struggling to win games in 2015-16, there were reports that Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler had issues in the locker room and Joakim Noah and Butler got into some heated confrontations. Now on the Detroit Pistons, Rose once opened up about what really happened behind the scenes in Chicago during his final campaign with the Bulls.
Derrick Rose averaged only 16.4 points per game in 2015-16
Before the 2015-16 season, Derrick Rose suffered an orbital fracture in his eye and required surgery. The former MVP played with a mask on during the first half of the campaign and struggled with his vision due to his eye injury.
Rose played in 66 games and averaged 16.4 points and 4.7 assists while shooting 42.7% from the field and 79.3% from the free-throw line. It took the Chicago native too long to round into form due to his eye injury, which is why Rose’s final numbers were poor.
Jimmy Butler was the best player for the Bulls in 2015-16. He put up 20.9 points and 5.3 rebounds and made his second All-Star team. The small forward was the face of the franchise, a title Rose held for so many years. As a result, Butler and Rose reportedly butted heads.
After the Bulls traded Rose to the Knicks in the offseason, Butler said he knew Chicago had to move him or Rose. Even though Butler penned a heartfelt goodbye to Rose on Instagram, everyone knew Jimmy was happy that the Bulls traded D-Rose.
Jimmy Butler, who had a close relationship with Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah during his first couple of seasons in Chicago, started to become a locker room cancer during the 2015-16 season. Not only did he publicly call out Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg through the media, but the swingman did some strange things in the locker room.
Jimmy Butler didn’t dress with Bulls players in 2015-16
During the 2015-16 season, Jimmy Butler didn’t dress with his teammates in the locker room and had tense arguments with Joakim Noah. Derrick Rose revealed these two tidbits in his autobiography called “I’ll Show You,” which was released in 2019.
“Lots of weird stuff was going on, though. I wasn’t sure what it was about, but Jimmy didn’t dress with us. That season he was always dressing with the coaches, didn’t stay in the locker room,” Rose said in his book. “Got to say, I never did see that before. To separate yourself from the team. How the hell do you think we’re a team when that’s going on? Of course, I got the blame. But Jo saw it, he and Jimmy were at it. There was a lot of fracturing.”
It must have been bizarre for Jimmy Butler’s teammates to watch him dress in a different room. Derrick Rose is a quiet, non-confrontational guy, so he likely didn’t call out Butler for his actions. However, Joakim Noah–the heart and soul of those Bulls teams–took issue with Butler, and the two got into it on several occasions.
Derrick Rose reunited with Jimmy Butler on the Timberwolves
During the end of the 2017-18 season, Derrick Rose signed with the Timberwolves after getting traded by the Cleveland Cavaliers and waived by the Utah Jazz. The former No. 1 overall pick reunited with Jimmy Butler and Tom Thibodeau in Minnesota.
Whatever issues Rose and Butler had in the past was behind them, as the former Bulls stars got along in Minnesota and helped the franchise make the playoffs for the first time since 2004. Although the Timberwolves lost to the Houston Rockets in the first round of the 2018 playoffs in five games, it was fun to see Rose and Butler play together again.
Jimmy Butler, now a superstar on the Miami Heat, is said to be on good terms with Joakim Noah. Meanwhile, Derrick Rose and Butler appear to be brothers once more, as D-Rose helped Jimmy Buckets get through his trade request with Minnesota during the 2018-19 campaign.
Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference.