The Chicago Bulls and the New York Knicks face off tonight for the first time in the new NBA season. And while the match up isn’t likely to be that competitive — the 3 and 1 Bulls are 7 and a half point favorites over the 1 and 3 Knicks — there is still a major story line to be observed.
Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah will both be playing in Chicago in an enemy uniform for the first time in their careers. Rose went to New York this summer via a trade, and Noah quickly followed in free agency.
Rose and Noah both had great careers in Chicago and played for some extremely memorable teams. But things didn’t seem to end on great terms.
Today, Bulls franchise player Jimmy Butler confirmed the apparent animosity between he and the two former Bulls.
I don’t think guys had different visions on what it took to win. I don’t think everybody was on the same page, truthfully, for what guys’ roles was going to be. That’s what it came down to, to tell the truth. I think that you look at the talent each individual had, everybody wanted to show how good they could be on any given night.”
Butler’s dynamic with Rose and Noah was always a little awkward. Butler was once an afterthought while Rose and Noah were the motor that drove the team. Then, injuries caused Noah and Rose to decline, and Butler ascended to the role of best player on the team.
It isn’t easy to peacefully coexist with the regime that once ruled the team once you’ve taken over. And it was clearly that dynamic that drove the former stars from Chicago.