After the Chicago Bulls lost in deflating fashion to the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday night, Dwayne Wade and Jimmy Butler criticized their team’s efforts in their post games press conferences. Chicago led the Hawks by 10 points with three minutes left in the final frame but they let Atlanta score 19 points within those three minutes and come out with an 119-114 win.
When it came time to speak to the press after the game, Dwayne Wade didn’t hold back as he had a lot to say:
“I don’t know if people care enough. … It just doesn’t mean enough to guys around here,” Wade said, according to the Chicago Tribune’s K.C. Johnson. “And it pisses me off.”
“I’m 35 years old. I have three championships. It shouldn’t hurt me more than it hurts these young guys. They have to want it. I can look at Jimmy and say Jimmy is doing his job. I think Jimmy can look at me and say Dwyane is doing his job. I don’t know if we can keep going down the line and be able to say that.”
Wade also took his frustrations to Twitter as well with this undeniable subtweet:
Jimmy Butler wasn’t quiet either, as he has this to say in his postgame press conference:
“We don’t play hard enough,” Butler said, per Johnson. “This is your job. I want to play with guys who care.”
Apparently, Rajon Rondo didn’t appreciate or agree with Wade or Butler’s comments and decided to take to Instagram to show his displeasure:
My vets would never go to the media. They would come to the team. My vets didn't pick and choose when they wanted to bring it. They brought it every time they stepped in the gym whether it was practice or a game. They didn't take days off. My vets didn't care about their numbers. My vets played for the team. When we lost, they wouldn't blame us. They took responsibility and got in the gym. They showed the young guys what it meant to work. Even in Boston when we had the best record in the league, if we lost a game, you could hear a pin drop on the bus. They showed us the seriousness of the game. My vets didn't have an influence on the coaching staff. They couldn't change the plan because it didn't work for them. I played under one of the greatest coaches, and he held everyone accountable. It takes 1-15 to win. When you isolate everyone, you can't win consistently. I may be a lot of things, but I'm not a bad teammate. My goal is to pass what I learned along. The young guys work. They show up. They don't deserve blame. If anything is questionable, it's the leadership.
Rondo spoke about his experience with veteran players back in his Boston days and says the Bulls’ recent struggles stem from a lack of leadership and I agree with him. If I were Jimmy Butler or Dwayne Wade and I have a problem with the way the team or a specific player is playing, I’m going to confront them before sounding off to the media.
I understand that Wade and Butler are doing their jobs better than anyone else on the team (accounted for 64% of the Bulls’ point vs. Atlanta) but part of that responsibility falls on their shoulders as well. Teams are supposed to win games and lose game together and the fact that they took this loss as an opportunity to complain, instead of to get in the gym and get back to work, might have made the situation worse.
Dwayne Wade is a 35-year old veteran and three-time NBA Champion who should clearly know that his role in Chicago isn’t to be the cold-blooded assassin he once was in Miami. His job is to motivate and teach the younger players what it takes to be successful in the league. Jimmy Butler is the future of this franchise if he wants to be and his leadership role is just beginning. If Butler can’t reflect some of the responsibility onto himself, then maybe he shouldn’t be in a leadership role in the first place.
While Rondo’s IG post just throw fuel on the fire, Wade and Butler’s comments weren’t the right way to go about the situation. Now the Bulls are going to have to deal with separation and lack of motivation more than ever before.