By Dan Bernstein–
CBSChicago.com senior columnist
(CBS) As mutinies go, Wednesday night’s was more Caine than Bounty, with the captain simply removed from power instead of placed in a lifeboat and left floating near Tahiti.
Fred Hoiberg was adrift enough after the Bulls blew a 10-point lead with three minutes remaining to lose to the Atlanta Hawks, 119-114, muttering the same lines about the same problems while his two star players were setting verbal fire to the locker room. Dwyane Wade and Jimmy Butler have been seen getting their postgame talking points straight recently, and they collaborated Wednesday night to take over with one blistering attack after the other against everything and everybody but them.
“I don’t know that they care enough,” Wade said of unnamed teammates. “I don’t know if I see enough guys who really, really want it. I can’t care too much for these guys. They have to care for themselves.”
Butler was echoing all of it.
“This is your job,” he said. “This is what you’re supposed to love to do, and I don’t think that everybody looks at it that way. I want to play with guys that care.”
Butler had 40 points and Wade 33, but they twice watched others hoist shots near the end of the debacle. Whether the targets included Nikola Mirotic and Paul Zipser is unclear, but Wade noted this: “I can look at Jimmy and say, ‘Jimmy is doing his job.’ I think Jimmy can look at me and say, ‘Dwyane is doing his job.’ I don’t know if we can keep going down the line and be able to say that.”
The shoe seemed to fit for Jerian Grant, who was compelled to take to Twitter afterward to defend himself with such comments as “I play hard TO WIN every second I’m out there” and “Basketball is in my blood and means way more to me than just a paycheck.”
Hoiberg is left to keep rearranging broken pieces now, yet again emasculated by public comment from his players as he cashes paychecks of his own. His own words didn’t help, either, as he described instructing his team to not allow open 3-pointers in the final sequences, during which they gave up three in a row. And his bosses responsible for constructing this largely useless roster undoubtedly were expected to hear the star guards’ tirade, too, as they contemplate how to approach the looming trade deadline.
Why anyone would want responsibility for this ill-conceived and conflicted operation is anybody’s guess, but Wade and Butler have apparently decided to own it together. Enjoy.