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If the Chicago Bulls are not at rock bottom now, they have to be getting close.
The revamped Bulls, under second-year coach Fred Hoiberg, have limped out to a 23-24 record and are barely clinging to the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
After the Bulls’ most recent loss, 119-114 to the Atlanta Hawks at home, both Dwyane Wade and Jimmy Butler called out their teammates for their effort and lack of caring.
On Thursday, Rajon Rondo fired back at Wade and Butler in a scathing Instagram post. Rondo took an obvious shot at Wade’s and Butler’s leadership skills by pointing out how veterans behaved when he was a younger player with the Boston Celtics, including a picture of himself with Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett.
“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.”
After the loss on Wednesday, both Wade and Butler were highly critical of their teammates.
“Everyone don’t care enough,” Wade said. “You got to care enough, man. It’s got to mean that much to you to want to win. And it doesn’t. … I don’t know how you fix it. It just doesn’t mean enough to guys around here to want to win ballgames. It [ticks] me off, but I can’t be frustrated and I can’t care too much for these guys.”
Butler accused his teammates of not playing hard all the time.
“On top of everything else, just play every possession like it’s your last,” Butler said. “We don’t play hard all the time … I want to play with guys that care, guys that play hard, that want to do well for this organization. That want to win games, man. Do whatever it takes, just win. Who cares who is shining?”
This game also featured a bizarre scene with about 59 seconds to play when it appeared that Hoiberg wanted to call a timeout and Butler seemingly scoffed at the idea and refused. Hoiberg later denied he was trying to call a timeout.
— jon greenberg (@jon_greenberg) January26, 2017
Wade also drew a clear line of division on the team, by singling out himself and Butler as the only two doing their jobs.
“I can look at Jimmy and say Jimmy’s doing his job,” Wade said. “Jimmy can look at me and say Dwyane’s doing his job. I don’t know if we can keep going down the line and be able to say that.”