Chicago Bulls guard Jimmy Butler didn’t back down from the public critique he made of coach Fred Hoiberg on Saturday when asked about the comments following the Bulls' loss to the Brooklyn Nets on Monday.
Butler acknowledged he perhaps should not have made his feelings public, but he said he did not regret the comments overall, according to The Chicago Tribune. He told reporters that he and Hoiberg met for more than an hour on Sunday, and that Hoiberg expressed agreement with some of Butler’s feelings at a team meeting.
“He said that he does have to hold everybody accountable. I have to help him with that,” Butler said. “I took the easy way out with my frustration. But I was never calling out my coach. I think he’s a hell of a coach. I think he's done great through these 25 games.”
Hoiberg was hired this off-season to replace Tom Thibodeau, who became known for his intense coaching style over his five seasons with the Bulls. On Saturday, after a 107–91 loss to the New York Knicks, Butler said Hoiberg was being too easy on his new team.
“I believe in the guys in this locker room but I also believe we probably have to be coached a lot harder at times,” Butler said. “I’m sorry, I know Fred is a laid-back guy and I really respect him for that, but when guys aren’t doing what they’re supposed to do, you have to get on guys—myself included.”
SI’s Chris Mannix reported that the Bulls aren’t connecting with Hoiberg’s laid-back approach, but Butler said Monday that he thinks addressing the problem should help the team improve.
“I think it will all turn around for the better,” Butler said. “[Hoiberg] doesn’t have to change as a person. Now that we’ve addressed it, everybody knows what they have to do. Before it wasn’t addressed, everybody was maybe going through the motions.”
The Bulls are 15–11 after losing three consecutive games and will next face the Oklahoma City Thunder (19–9) on Christmas Day.
- Erin Flynn