Scottie Pippen questions Jimmy Butler’s leadership with Bulls (vid)
Scottie Pippen has become the latest person to question how Jimmy Butler conducted himself during his time with the Chicago Bulls, comments consistent with allegations that have long been the source of rumor and speculation.
Butler of course was dealt to the Minnesota Timberwolves in a draft-day blockbuster, and the Bulls icon on Thursday questioned Butler’s leadership qualities, or lack thereof, during an appearance on ESPN’s “The Jump.”
From #TheJump: @ScottiePippen likes Jimmy Butler's fresh start because he says Butler had leadership issues w/the Bulls. I ask for specifics pic.twitter.com/JanQAz4Btm
— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) June 29, 2017
As transcribed by SLAM:
Pippen: “In Chicago, he didn’t handle it very well and I think it really turned the organization—”
Why do you think he didn’t handle it very well?
Pippen: “I don’t think he handled it right from a leadership standpoint of what it takes to be a superstar.”
What are the specifics that people are staying he wasn’t good in the locker room?
Pippen: “Well, it’s just a lot of locker room talk that Jimmy was disrespecting the head coach, disrespecting the assistant coach. Just wasn’t showing the type of leadership that you’d expect from your best player.”
Butler acknowledged he was bound to hear these kind of comments on his way out of Chicago, and said as much during his introductory news conference Thursday, actually giving out his real phone number.
Timberwolves' Jimmy Butler gives out his phone number at intro press conference and encourages critics to call him directly pic.twitter.com/gLxYVJWvx1
— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) June 29, 2017
“I’m fine,” Butler said in part, via the Star Tribune. “Everybody is entitled to their opinion. But with that being said: My phone is in my back pocket right now. Whoever has something to say to me, feel free.”
As far as Pippen is concerned, he has been a special advisor to the Bulls organization since being named to the role in 2012.
It’s hardly surprising, then, that Pippen would try to put a positive spin on dealing away the three-time All-Star. Many pundits have deemed the Butler trade as lopsided in the Timberwolves’ favor. Whether Pippen’s comments are based in some semblance in the truth or not, damage control and organizational loyalty nevertheless could be in play here.
That said, if Pippen would like to discuss the issue with Butler directly, he’s got Butler’s number.
Odds are good Butler would take Pippen’s call, right?