"C'mon, man. That [expletive] always comes up when people lose," Butler said Monday, per K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune. "I'm tired of talking about that [expletive]."
On April 5, Johnson wrote the problem isn't necessarily whether Butler and Rose get along on and off the court but rather whether they complement each other from a basketball perspective.
Whereas Rose once looked to be the cornerstone of the franchise and the key to turning Chicago into a title contender, that now applies to Butler.
According to NBA.com, the Bulls have a minus-3.9 net rating per 100 possessions when Rose and Butler playing at the same time. Head coach Fred Hoiberg believes injuries are the biggest reason the two have failed to click this year, per ESPN.com's Nick Friedell:
Derrick will miss three or four games and then put him back in and then just the style of play that you have is different. You have to integrate him back into the lineup. And then Jimmy misses a few games and then gets back in. So it's been a tough dynamic, and I think you saw a little bit of that [Tuesday] night with Derrick coming back for the first time.
As far as anything between the two of the them? No. And I think if you asked those two guys, they'd tell you the same thing.
Butler said April 6 he and Rose plan to train together this offseason to continue improving their on-court chemistry, per Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times:
We know each other's games pretty well from being around each other on the court, but in the offseason, it will let me know where he really wants the ball, what he's really, really good at, and the same way for him with me.
When you're seeing each other work out and train, you gain a lot of respect for the individual because you see them putting in their time, you know what I mean? I'm not saying that I don't respect him, but if he sees how much I'm in the gym every day and I see how much he's in the gym every day, you know that you rhyme with that individual, and I think that's a very important thing.
Rose is signed for one more season. He's set to earn a little more than $21.3 million in 2016-17, per Spotrac, which could handicap the Bulls in the event they decide between now and next year's trade deadline he and Butler simply cannot work together on the court. Johnson reported, though, that the team isn't considering trading Rose at the moment.
Chicago's playoff hopes next season hinge heavily on how Butler and Rose perform. The Houston Rockets are a perfect example of how imperative it is for a team's top two stars to be on the same page. The Rockets may miss out on the postseason in no small part due to Dwight Howard and James Harden's incompatibility.
With Butler and Rose taking proactive steps this offseason to iron out any issues they have, the Bulls should find themselves in a more enviable position this time next year.