Jimmy Butler, Dwyane Wade: No problem with Rajon Rondo after critical Instagram post

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Friday, January 27, 2017

Chicago Bulls stars Jimmy Butler and Dwyane Wade both said they have no problem with Rajon Rondo one day after the point guard criticized the team's "veterans" in an Instagram post.

Rondo made headlines Thursday when he defended the "young guys" on the Bulls while writing, "If anything is questionable, it's the leadership" in a lengthy post on his Instagram account.

Rondo's rant was posted after Butler and Wade publicly called out their teammates following Wednesday's loss to the Atlanta Hawks.

"I don't have any problem with Rajon," Butler said Friday morning after shootaround, which was delayed because of a team meeting. "He spoke his mind. I spoke my mind. Move on."

"Everyone gets opportunities to express themselves," Wade added. "That's how [Rondo] chose to express himself. ... I have no hard feelings."

Wade also noted that he didn't regret any of the comments he made Wednesday. The 12-time All-Star was asked how he would assess coach Fred Hoiberg's control of the locker room.

"You've got to ask Fred that," Wade said. "I'm not going to talk about coaches. I talk about players. It's not my job to talk about what the coaches do. I hold my players accountable as a leader of the team. That's a question of Fred."

Hoiberg said none of the three players would be suspended for their remarks, but they were fined an undisclosed amount.

"It's unacceptable to air your grievances through the media," Hoiberg said. "We talked about that in the very first meeting of the year. If you have issues, sit behind closed doors and talk about it, and we move forward and we get better because of it. From that standpoint, yeah it was disappointing. But again, we're moving forward."

Rondo also spoke to reporters Friday, noting that the post he sent out on Thursday night was the third draft of what he wanted to say.

"It's not that we don't like each other," Rondo said. "Some things came out that shouldn't have. ... When you express yourself and get everything out, it makes relationships better. When you communicate, you understand each other."

Rondo said that the Bulls said "what we needed to say" during the team meeting Friday morning. Each player was given an opportunity to speak in a meeting that lasted over an hour.

"We spoke as a team this morning," he said. "Everyone had the same platform and we got to talk it out."

Rondo joked that "nobody came in with boxing gloves" to the meeting, acknowledging that the players "should have addressed this as men, face to face, in the locker room."

Bulls general manager Gar Forman said that the organization is "extremely disappointed" in players criticizing their teammates to the media and on social media.

"We have visited with the players who spoke out at length and dealt with it internally," said Forman, who did not take questions from reporters. "We've talked about it with the entire team."

Bulls executive vice president John Paxson was also present at the meeting.

Butler and Wade had a clear message they wanted to get across in their postgame comments Wednesday to the media. Butler stated that the Bulls "don't play hard all the time," while Wade accused some of his teammates of not caring enough about winning, saying "I can't be frustrated and I can't care too much for these guys. [They] have to care for themselves."

Rondo responded Thursday with his lengthy Instagram post, which included a photo of himself with former Boston Celtics teammates Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce.

The Bulls, who fell to 23-24 after the loss, will face Wade's former team, the Miami Heat, at home Friday night.

Wade understands that he isn't the most popular teammate in the locker room right now with his younger teammates, but he didn't seem concerned about his standing.

"If I was concerned about being liked, I wouldn't have said what I said the other night," Wade said. "Like I said, people are going to respect in the good time and they're not going to like you all the time in the bad times. But winning cures all. I just want to see us win. That doesn't mean I'm not a part of this, that I'm putting myself above this.

"I'm the first one to talk about the things I do wrong on the basketball floor. We all make mistakes. We all turn the ball over. We all miss shots. We all defensively have lapses. We all bitch at the refs. We all don't get in transition. We all have those moments. It's not about a shot that anybody take. It's just about our approach to the game as a team. Are we giving everything we have as a team? If we are, then we are who we are."

Rondo came to Chicago with a history of clashing with coaches.

Butler and Wade repeatedly defended Rondo after he was benched in the second half of a Dec. 30 loss to the Indiana Pacers. Wade even praised Rondo for handling the benching in a professional manner, which lasted five games.

ESPN's Nick Friedell contributed to this report.

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