Word got back around to coach Fred Hoiberg and his players when the team met with the media on Friday. Yesterday, Chicago fans freaked out when Ric Bucher of Bleacher Report reported that the Bulls have put Jimmy Butler back on the trading block leading up to the NBA’s trade deadline next month. Several local sources closer to the team are suggesting that report is unfounded.
That doesn’t mean the media won’t ask questions about it. But Hoiberg’s response was brief as he shut down the rumors.
“I’m not surprised at all. Because that’s the world that we live in, unfortunately. It is what it is. You try to stay away from it as much as possible. Keep your head down, keep working. Again, I think we’ve made significant progress these last couple of weeks as a basketball team, winning four of six and having some really good wins in that stretch.” – Fred Hoiberg
Hoiberg tried his best to steer the conversation away from the trade rumors and towards the fact that his team has won some games recently. Smooth move, Fred.
As for Butler’s mentor and on-the-court-sidekick Dwyane Wade, he’s seen this kind of talk plenty of times before. He chalks it up to Chicago being one of the league’s biggest markets.
“It’s a big market. It’s the Bulls. Our best player is in a rumor right now, [but] it doesn’t matter. It’s been a rumor every week but nothing has happened. It’s something to talk about. A couple extra hits. It’s the way the world works, the world we’re in. Someone decided to write something with no merit. And if it does have merit, way to be first in line for the scoop.” – Dwyane Wade
Wade continued to rip on the irresponsible reporting of Bucher, without naming him directly:
“Who wrote an article? Somebody wrote an article? Who cares. Like I said, you can control what you can control. You can’t control somebody waking up one day and wanting to stir something up in Chicago and write an article.” – Dwyane Wade
As far as Wade sees it, his fellow Marquette alum has entered the level of “untouchable” players in the league.
“James Harden don’t have a price, Russell Westbrook don’t have a price, LeBron James don’t have a price. Steph Curry don’t…There’s certain guys at this point, this moment, don’t have a price. In my mind, [Jimmy] doesn’t. I think he’s the cornerstone of this franchise. He’s the reason I’m here. The reason we’re winning games.” – Dwyane Wade
Wade finished by offering some elderly wisdom to his younger teammates.
“The only thing you can do is bring your butt in here and work…There’s nothing you can do about [rumors]. So don’t listen to it. It’s the time of the year where everybody’s name is being thrown in a hat, and most of it don’t even happen.’’ – Dwyane Wade
At least for now, it sounds like the Bulls are doing their best to block out the noise and focus on getting more wins. After defeating the shorthanded Cavaliers, they have a tough test tomorrow against the Toronto Raptors. You have to assume Butler will come into that game with a heavy chip on his shoulder. He may pretend to ignore the rumors, but he’s certainly not deaf.