Chicago Bulls point guard Rajon Rondo has denied any possible tension with teammates Dwyane Wade and Jimmy Butler, who he blasted off on during an Instagram post the day after the team’s loss to the Atlanta Hawks.
“It was just some things that came out publicly that shouldn’t have come out. We should have addressed it as men, face to face in the locker room, but I don’t think there’s any tension between us as a team,” Rondo told reporters at Friday’s shootaround.
“You go through this. Every team I’ve played on has players only meetings, players staff meetings, so this is part of the process. Ours just happened to be a bigger spotlight.”
But Rondo would not back down from his original stance, saying that the players in the locker room indeed care about the game, but are mostly young and need the right guidance.
“I disagree with the comment about the work ethic,” Rondo said. “Guys want to win. Guys take their job very seriously. And they’re young, so they need to be guided the right way. They lean on us for direction. What to (do), how to feel. It’s an emotional game. We’re humans, we’re emotional. So us as leaders, we have to show those guys how to stay professional and get the job done.”
Prior to the Bulls’ worst game of the season on Friday, as many called it — the team held an unusually long meeting to address the public outcry from the three highest-paid players in the team and iron out their issues.
“We met with the entire team this morning and hashed a lot of things out. We’ll move forward from this,” said Hoiberg.
Bulls general manager Gar Forman spoke to the media on Friday as well, but didn’t accept any questions.
“We were extremely disappointed that several players chose to speak out after our last game,” Forman said. “You know, every team has issues, and it’s our strong belief that, when you have issues or critical comments, that you keep those issues or critical comments in house. That it’s not shared through (the media), that it’s not shared through social media. It’s not how we want to operate, it is totally unacceptable, and we made it very clear to the players that were involved that it’s unacceptable.”
Wade was matter-of-factly in his response, saying he chose to express himself and Rondo did as well.
“Everyone gets the opportunity to express themselves,” he said “Just like I chose to express myself, that’s the way (Rondo) chose to express himself. …I have no ill intentions and no hard feelings for anyone. I want everyone to succeed in this locker room, this year and beyond.”
Butler shared the same sentiment.
“Your opinion is your opinion, man,” the 6-foot-7 forward said. “I’m gonna still come out here and go to war with you, go to battle with you. I don’t have anything negative to say to him. You spoke your mind, I spoke my mind. Move on.”