Dwyane Wade, Jimmy Butler claim to have no issues with Rajon Rondo
Chicago Bulls teammates Dwyane Wade and Jimmy Butler on Friday both took the high road when reacting to Rajon Rondo’s explosive criticism of the team’s “veterans” in a fiery Instagram post.
The Bulls’ morning shootaround ahead of Friday’s game against the Miami Heat was briefly delayed for a team meeting, which presumably at least included some discussion of Rando’s social media musings. Afterward, Butler and Wade both dismissed any lingering issues with Rondo amid the Bulls’ latest self-inflicted controversy.
“I don’t have any problem with Rajon,” Butler said, via ESPN. “He spoke his mind. I spoke my mind. Move on.”
“Everyone gets opportunities to express themselves,” Wade said, echoing Butler. “That’s how [Rondo] chose to express himself. … I have no hard feelings.”
Rondo took to Instagram on Thursday to criticize the Bulls’ veteran leadership after Wade and Butler tore into younger players on the team in the wake of Wednesday’s embarrassing meltdown loss to the Atlanta Hawks.
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’s social media missives were met with shock and dismay, particularly among Bulls brass, including general manager Gar Forman, who said the organization is “extremely disappointed” in Rondo’s conduct.
“We have visited with the players who spoke out at length and dealt with it internally,” said Forman while refusing to take questions from reporters. “We’ve talked about it with the entire team.”
Rondo’s first season with the Bulls has been nothing short of an unmitigated disaster, and that might be underselling it. It’s reasonable to assume Rondo’s actions this week conceivably burned anything left of a bridge that leads to him continuing his NBA career in Chicago.
At least Butler and Wade deserve some semblance of credit for rising above all the dysfunction and turmoil. That’s something.