Dwyane Wade, Bulls respond to Jimmy Butler trade rumors

Dwyane Wade, Bulls respond to Jimmy Butler trade rumors

Every week there seems to be some rumor of some kind involving the Chicago Bulls and ever-so-slightly, it’s starting to wear on Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg.

Whether it’s the combination of Hoiberg having to face questions about his job security several days ago or the latest one to hit the mill — a report about the Bulls listening to offers about Jimmy Butler — he broke the veneer he’s so carefully crafted since his arrival in Chicago.

“No. I’m not going to comment on the rumors,” Hoiberg said.

When asked if he was surprised, Hoiberg deviated from his usual tactic of cracking a quick joke to break the ice and seemed annoyed he has to address something seemingly every week.

“No, I’m not. I’m not surprised at all,” Hoiberg said. “Because that’s the world that we live in, unfortunately.”

He admitted the totality of it all can wear on someone or even his team, but insisted he won’t allow it to.

“It is what it is. It’s the world that we live in,” Hoiberg said. “You try to stay away from it as much as possible. Keep your head down, keep working. Again, I think we’ve made significant progress these last couple of weeks as a basketball team, winning four of six and having some really good wins in that stretch.”

Dwyane Wade believes it’s the market of Chicago that leads to such daily and weekly controversy.

“It's a big market. It's the Bulls. Our best player is in a rumor right now,” Wade said. “It doesn't matter. It's been a rumor every week but nothing has happened. It's a big market, something to talk about. A couple extra hits. It's the way the world works, the world we're in. Someone decided to write something with no merit. And if it does have merit, way to be first in line for the scoop.”

Dwyane Wade joked he’s never been involved in a trade rumor and stated there’s a few untouchables around the NBA.

“James Harden don't have a price, Russell Westbrook don't have a price, LeBron James don't have a price. Steph Curry don't…,” Wade said. “There's certain guys at this point, this moment, don't have a price. At some point, everybody got a price and depending on when. Dwyane Wade didn't have a price at one point.”

He didn’t forget his teammate, the guy who scored 52 one night and closed out the Cavaliers two nights later with a 14-point fourth quarter.

“In my mind, he doesn't. I think he's the cornerstone of this franchise,” Wade said. “He's the reason I'm here. The reason we're winning games, Not in my mind but it's not my decision.”

[LISTEN: Bulls Talk Podcast discusses Jimmy Butler trade rumors]

Although the two are obviously close and Wade being much more experienced than Butler, he said he wouldn’t give the rumors life by talking to his teammate about it.

“For what? Who wrote an article? Somebody wrote an article? Who cares. Like I said, you can control what you can control,” Wade said. “You can’t control somebody waking up one day and wanting to stir something up in Chicago and write an article.”

It’s the two-way street of the NBA, he believes.

“The only thing you can do is bring your butt in here and work, and if they call you and say, ‘Hey, you’ve been moved.’ Shake their hand and you say, ‘Thank you for everything,’ and you leave,” Wade said. “I always told my teammates, because you never know what’s going to happen in this league, you never know where you’re going to be, stay professional. Just like you have your opportunities in free agency and stuff like that to decide where you want to go, they have opportunities to move you. There’s nothing you can do about it. So don’t listen to it. It’s the time of the year where everybody’s name is being thrown in a hat, and most of it don’t even happen.’’

With the rumors being so prevalent from one thing to another, Hoiberg said he discusses it with his team at times.

“We talk a little but about it, but we don't spend a lot of time talking about it. But yeah, there are moments,” he said. “I'll say this. Going back to my days in the front office, you're always talking to other teams, you're always making calls. You talk about your roster, People throw things against the wall all the time.”

Hoiberg was an assistant GM with the Timberwolves for a short time before going to the college ranks at Iowa State.

“I was a guy that made a lot of calls. So you do that stuff all the time,” he said. “You do your due diligence on other teams and rosters and throw things out there; 99 percent of them have no legs and you move on, but that is the job. You do call every other team in the league and you talk. That's what that job's about.”

After fighting through unspeakable adversity, Celtics 'enjoying the moment' with new perspective

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USA TODAY

After fighting through unspeakable adversity, Celtics 'enjoying the moment' with new perspective

Championship moments rarely occur in the first round. With a playoff format that drags the postseason out for more than two months, with playoff series taking as long as two weeks, the second season feels like just that. It’s far too early to say what exactly Friday night in Chicago will mean for the top-seeded Celtics, but a sense of a team coming together under unfathomable circumstances may prove to be the turning point in a season that a week ago appeared hanging by a thread.

It happened in three parts.

On the floor the Celtics looked every bit the part of a 51-win team that edged out LeBron’s Cavs for the top spot in the East. Brad Stevens’ small-ball approach came full-circle as the Boston guards lived in the paint against the Bulls, kicking out to open shooters for 16 3-pointers that helped the Celtics put away the game (and series) midway through the third quarter.

Avery Bradley starred for a second consecutive night, tallying 23 points while making Jimmy Butler work for his, while eight different Celtics hit a 3-pointer and the team shot 49 percent. For the first time in the series the Celtics looked dominant, like a team poised to contend with the Cavaliers for supremacy in the East.

“It felt good to play Celtic basketball again,” Avery Bradley said. “We were all smiling, having fun, and that’s what it’s supposed to be. That’s how hard we worked this entire year, to play that type of basketball.”

Isaiah Thomas was naturally somber much of the series. The well-documented death of his 22-year-old sister put a damper on the series before it began, and the MVP candidate understandably chose not to address it on the few occassions he spoke with the media. But Thomas looked more like himself as the series went on. Not only did his numbers improve, he appeared more vocal after made baskets, laughed off trash talk from Bulls point guard Isaiah Canaan, and engineered the Celtics' offense to near-perfection.

His defining moment came late in the third quarter with the Celtics nearing a 30-point lead. After a hard foul he gathered his four teammates in a huddle near the baseline and shouted that the series for the Bulls was "a wrap for these m------------!" This was the same player who two weeks earlier was brought to tears prior to Game 1, and who will bury his sister on Saturday in Tacoma, Washington. Under unthinkable circumstances, Thomas averaged 23.0 points and 5.7 assists in 34.8 minutes in the series.

“I feel like he has grown,” Al Horford said. "And we all have in a way with all the adversity that has gone on. It could have easily gone the other way, but I feel like especially tonight when we got the game in hand, in control, we all just kept on repeating to stay focused to keep it going, keep pushing. We didn’t want to give them any life and we were a focused group and we were enjoying the moment.”

Thomas' journey won't get easier. He'll have another short turnaround to get ready for Sunday's second-round matchup against the Celtics. But like his teammates did in Games 3 and 4, when Thomas flew by himself to Chicago following his return home to Tacoma to mourn with his family, they'll have another opporuntity to grow closer. Brad Stevens kept an incredible perspective on the situation throughout the series, and applauded his team for doing the same while still fighting for wins.

"Bigger things than basketball happened, and that took precedent and it takes precdedent," he said. "I was really proud of our guys for how they treated each other, how they stood together, stuck together. And how nobody pointed fingers, they were just a great support for one another, especially Isaiah."

When Thomas does return, and when the Celtics gear up for their next postseason journey, expectations will have remained the same. Though the Wizards were one of the league's best teams in the second half, and with John Wall and Bradley Beal playing on another level, it'll take more performances like Friday night - both on the court and collectively staying together - for Boston to advance. A 2-0 hole against the Wizards will feel a whole lot different than it did against the Bulls.

That sort of letdown doesn't feel like it will happen again. Though no one would have wished such tragedy to force it, the Celtics came together at a critical moment and came out better for it. Their work isn't done, and they know it. But the way they were able to handle the adversity in Round 1, anything seems possible for Stevens, Thomas the top seed in the East.

"We just try to stay the course in the day-to-day. And if that results in us winning more games or winning in the playoffs, or whatever the case may be, there’s only one goal in the Boston," Stevens said. "Seventeen (NBA championship) banners above us. We don’t have a choice. We only shoot for one thing there."

BullsTalk Podcast: Top-seeded Celtics too much to handle for Bulls

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AP

BullsTalk Podcast: Top-seeded Celtics too much to handle for Bulls

In the latest episode of the BullsTalk Podcast, Mark Schanowski, Will Perdue and Stacey King break down the final game of the Bulls' season, a 105-83 loss to the Boston Celtics in Game 6 of their first-round playoff series.

Also, hear postgame press conferences from head coach Fred Hoiberg and All-Star forward Jimmy Butler. And the guys look ahead to the offseason and the NBA Draft.

Listen to the latest episode below: