Chicago Bulls pair Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler reportedly clashed during the elimination game against the Cleveland Cavaliers last week.
Five things we learned from Conference semi-finals: (Video) Can Warriors be stopped?
Time for Thibodeau to go: Bulls must replace their coach.
Chris Paul fouls Dwight Howard: (Video) Hilarious intentional foul.
It is reported that the pair were at odds with one another during the disappointing 94-73 loss to the Cavs which eventually saw the Bulls eliminated from the playoffs after a 4-2 series defeat to their Eastern Conference rivals.
After such big expectations at the start of the season, Chicago’s offense was woeful at a time when they desperately needed it to function given that the game was there to be won.
The issue is understood to have started over who would be the primary scorer for the team with Butler running to spots that Rose would ordinarily occupy while the former MVP was surprisingly quiet.
Given that he had a match-up with Cavs reserve guard Matthew Dellavedova, many fans were left baffled by the decision not to attack with the point guard being the primary ball handler.
Although there has been no confirmation of the issue from inside the Bulls camp, this would certainly explain part of it as Rose went from shooting 5-of-9 with three assists after the first quarter to scoring just four more points through the rest of the game.
His reluctancy to attack the basket in such a significantly important game was beyond explanation, but it appears as though a battle between two guards wanting to lead could have been at the root of the problem, according to CBS Chicago.
It remains to be seen if this becomes an even bigger issue moving forward, as Butler is widely expected to be offered a max deal this summer after developing his game and becoming a crucial component of Chicago’s success.
If the pair are able to work it out then they could evolve into the best, and most expensive, backcourt in the league, but if there is a butting of heads over who is the leading guard, then it could lead to problems for either Tom Thibodeau or his successor.