Jimmy Butler, Joakim Noah Reportedly Had Several Arguments in Final Bulls Season

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistOctober 24, 2017

Chicago Bulls' Joakim Noah (13) talks to teammate Jimmy Butler (21) during the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game against the New York Knicks Saturday, Dec. 19, 2015, in New York.  New York defeated Chicago 107-91. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)
Jason DeCrow/Associated Press

The precedent of Chicago Bulls players fighting was reportedly established before Bobby Portis sent Nikola Mirotic to the hospital during a practice scuffle this year. 

On Tuesday, Nick Friedell of ESPN.com reported Jimmy Butler and Joakim Noah "engaged in several heated disagreements throughout" the 2015-16 season. Friedell went as far as to say "there is no better illustration of the breaking point between one era of Bulls players and another than the deterioration of Noah and Butler's relationship."

The disagreements came after the two were reportedly close when Butler was a young player breaking into the league.

However, Friedell noted Butler—who "didn't always feel as if some members of the group were putting in the work that he was"—was particularly displeased with Noah's tendency to show up late to team activities.

Dan Feldman of NBC Sports cited the Friedell piece and pointed out Butler used his formidable work ethic to eventually ascend to best-player status on a Bulls team that previously featured Noah and Derrick Rose as its leaders.

"That created an awkward dynamic, as Rose and Noah weren't exactly comfortable with the new power structure," he wrote.

Butler joined Chicago as a first-round pick in 2011 after the franchise reached the Eastern Conference Finals the prior season behind Rose's MVP efforts. The Bulls were the No. 1 seed in the East entering the playoffs in Butler's rookie season, but Rose's torn ACL ended their championship hopes and planted the seeds for the eventual destruction of the core.

They were still a constant in the playoff picture but were never truly championship contenders over the next few seasons.

Since then, Chicago traded Rose to the New York Knicks and Butler to the Minnesota Timberwolves. Noah signed with the Knicks to play with Rose, but it didn't work out as the team went 31-51 last season.

As for the Bulls, they lost their first two games in 2017-18 and appear well on their way to one of the worst records in the league.

It isn't all bad, though, considering Friedell reported Butler and Noah have since "patched things up" with summer training sessions during the offseason.

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