The biggest thing on Jimmy Butler—next to his haircut—has likely been the golden nugget-sized chip on his shoulder he proudly wore on his journey from non-entity to All-Star and Olympian.
However, Butler claims that invisible attribute that has taken him to unforeseen heights is gone as he’s two months away from leading a Bulls team that has undergone the most significant roster overhaul in his career.
Perhaps it’s a tacit admission about changing his leadership style, but it’s certainly a change on face value.
“I don’t think I have a chip on my shoulder anymore,” Butler said at USA Basketball practice at the United Center Thursday, one day before an exhibition against Venezuela. “I don’t think I have too much to prove like back in the day. That doesn’t mean I don’t work hard or anything. I just think I go about things a little differently.”
He didn’t actually specify how he’ll do things differently but perhaps the quest for validation that has driven him to insatiable heights and a few questionable moments on the way is over.
With Joakim Noah and Derrick Rose dispatched to New York, followed by the surprising additions of ring bearers Dwyane Wade and Rajon Rondo, perhaps he’s feeling more secure about where he ranks on the team masthead.
“I think I have to catch up with them, with the winning mentality,” Butler said. “I think I can learn a lot from those guys. D-Wade, multiple championships. Rondo bringing in his intensity.”
Wade and Rondo have the championship receipts that Butler doesn’t have, so Butler feels he’ll learn more from them as opposed to worrying about the on-court fit that on paper, doesn’t seem to be ideal.
“I don’t do the analytics and numbers. D-Wade has put the ball in the basket for a number of years,” Butler said. “He’s a great player because of the way he can score. I don’t think you can call him a non-shooter because he can shoot the ball.
“Rondo, call him what you want but he’s effective at what he does. Same thing with myself. You gotta be able to knock down shots.”
Before those new acquisitions, Butler had to deal with the belief he had Rose shipped out as a mark of some type of organizational power, as the two were never fully able to maximize their partnership on the floor to the tune of playoff success or even chemistry.
Then, in a stunning turn of events that seemed to indicate his fingerprints couldn’t be on much of anything, Butler had to endure trade rumors of his own the next day during the NBA draft.
He hasn’t spoken many times this offseason with the exception of summer league and an ESPN media tour in Los Angeles, but the proverbial scars are there and he addressed the rumors.
“That has nothing to do with me, I don’t move guys,” Butler said. “People are gonna think what they’re gonna think. I don’t let it bother me. I know where I stand, I know who I am. It’s one more thing for people to talk about. I don’t pay too much attention to it.”
He has spoken to Rose since the trade, as Rose attended an USA Basketball game in Los Angeles and the two chatted during the contest. And he exchanged texts with Noah after Noah broke the bank for a $72 million deal with the New York Knicks in free agency.
“We’ll always have love for each other because we’re always teammates, we’ve been in the trenches together.”
CSNChicago.com preps reporter "Edgy" Tim O’Halloran spotlights 100 high school football teams in 100 days. The first 75 team profiles will focus on teams making strides across Chicagoland and elsewhere in the state. Starting Aug. 1, we’ll unveil the @CSNPreps Top 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 26.
Head coach: Mike Sebestyen
Assistant Coaches: Brock Collins, Tim Beishir, Tom Whalen, Nick Lussow, Don Sebestyen, Jeff Collier, Lance Burmeister
How they fared in 2015: 3-6 (2-3) Mid Suburban East Conference. Prospect failed to qualify for the 2015 IHSA state playoff field.
Biggest storyline in 2016: Is this the Year of the Knights in the Mid Suburban East?
Names to watch this season: OL Billy Matzek; OL Alex Palczewski
Biggest holes to fill: Can anyone pick up the slack from graduated RB Bobby Jarosz?
EDGY's Early Take: With 14 starters back (six on offense, eight on defense) from a season ago will Prospect be able to convert that experience into a few more wins and a state playoff bid? If the Knights can find some answers in a few key spots, including the offensive skills department, this team could do some big things this fall.
Leonard Floyd provided a scare on the first day of practice at Bears training camp, but the first round pick appears fine.
Head coach John Fox said Floyd, who left Thursday's practice on a cart, is simply battling an illness and was not injured.
#Bears 1st rd pick Leonard Floyd leaves practice via cart. Details later— John Mullin (@CSNMoonMullin) July 28, 2016
#Bears john fox says rookie no. 1 Leonard Floyd just "sick" leaving practice on cart— John Mullin (@CSNMoonMullin) July 28, 2016
The Bears moved up in April's NFL Draft to select Floyd with the ninth overall pick. The outside linebacker tallied 17 sacks at Georgia and was projected to be in the mix as an outside rusher in the Bears' 3-4 defense.