The 2015-16 Chicago Bulls were one of the most dysfunctional teams in the NBA despite having four All-Stars on the roster in Jimmy Butler, Derrick Rose, Pau Gasol, and Joakim Noah. First-year head coach Fred Hoiberg never connected with his players, and it showed on the court.
The Bulls went 42-20 and missed the playoffs in 2015-16. Butler, the best player on the club, had a tumultuous campaign. Although he averaged 20.9 points and made the All-Star team, he got into multiple heated arguments with Noah and didn’t dress with his teammates.
Derrick Rose: Jimmy Butler didn’t dress with us in 2015-16
Rose wrote an autobiography called I’ll Show You with the help of Hall of Fame Bulls writer Sam Smith in 2020. The youngest MVP in NBA history revealed that Butler didn’t dress with the Bulls during the 2015-16 season in one of the chapters.
“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 wrote. “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.”
Following the 2015-16 season, the Bulls traded Rose to the New York Knicks and didn’t re-sign Noah, who was an unrestricted free agent. The one-time Defensive Player of the Year joined Rose on the Knicks, while the Bulls signed Dwyane Wade and Rajon Rondo in free agency.
During the 2015-16 season, multiple reports stated that Rose and Butler had beef. However, the former said that was never the case in his book.
Derrick Rose: Jimmy Butler and I were always cool
Rose wrote in his book that he and Butler never had issues despite what the media said. The Chicago native even bought the small forward a $15,000 watch in 2014-15 and helped him through his trade request with the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2018-19.
“I always was cool with Jimmy, no matter what they were saying in the media. I was always cool with all my teammates,” Rose wrote. “That’s what it is having teammates. I never had a problem with Jimmy. No confrontation, no argument or anything. In fact, when Jimmy had his trade stuff come up in Minnesota, he was confiding in me and I was counseling him, understanding what he was going through, how it wasn’t right. People always wanted to make it something between me and Jimmy in Chicago, wanting to see us go at it…Nah, nothing like that with me and Jimmy…Remember, I did buy him that watch that time with the Bulls. Just to show, ‘Bro, I ain’t whatever they may be saying.’ It was light love for a teammate. I think it cost like $15,000. When you’re the veteran, sometimes you have to spoil your teammates.”
Butler and Rose played together on the Timberwolves in 2017-18 and for a little bit in 2018-19 before the former was traded to the Philadelphia 76ers. Meanwhile, Butler and Noah competed in a few pick-up games together in 2017, so whatever problems they had in Chicago have been resolved.
Butler plays for the Miami Heat now after joining the South Beach franchise in the summer of 2019. As for Rose, he’s in his second stint with the Knicks. After both players were part of a lot of dysfunction in 2015-16, they seem to have found new homes.
Former Bulls stars are happy where they are now
Butler signed with the Heat in 2019 and has fit in perfectly with them. He not only gets along with all of his teammates and coaches, but the All-Star swingman also doesn’t have to change who he is.
In Chicago, Minnesota, and Philadelphia, Butler would call out teammates for not working hard or playing well and get negative responses. In Miami, constructive criticism and confrontation are encouraged by Pat Riley and Erik Spoelstra.
As for Rose, he has bounced around the NBA since winning MVP in 2010-11. The three-time All-Star has played for the Knicks (twice), Cleveland Cavaliers, Timberwolves, and Detroit Pistons. Rose revived his career in 2018-19 with Minnesota and is now one of the best bench players in the NBA.
Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference