The Chicago Bulls are hanging by a thread in their playoffs run in the NBA this season. As the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference led by LeBron James' Cleveland Cavaliers, the Derrick Rose squad has yet to figure out ways to get past Detroit Pistons and the Indiana Pacers. However, the bigger challenge would be displacing the Charlotte Hornets of Jeremy Lin from their spots wherein they are tied with the Miami Heat of Dwyane Wade and Marcus Smart's Boston Celtics. The Atlanta Hawks of Al Horford would definitely be a problem for the injury filled Chicago Bulls - not to mention the aggressive competitors in the Toronto Raptors of Kyle Lowry. If they do manage to beat these basketball teams, can the Jimmy Butler squad measure up to the challenge of the Cleveland Cavaliers which pride itself with the likes of Kevin Love, Kyrie Irving and Iman Shumpert?
At the moment, the Chicago Bulls are attempting to clinch a playoffs spot by making the best out of their current situation. With a rookie head coach in Fred Hoiberg, the NBA team needs all the players on deck to help out. However, the continuous injuries suffered by the main basketball stars like Rose, Butler, Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson and Pau Gasol are blocking the championship run of the team. Even Nikola Mirotic has been plagued with injuries this season. Do these problems mean the end of the playoffs run for the Chicago Bulls?
Following the back to back losses of the Chicago Bulls, two key members of the team appear to be in jeopardy. One is Butler - the same basketball star who lifted the team last season when Rose fell to his injuries. Despite his best efforts to push the Chicago Bulls to victory, the point guard is not declared safe when it comes to NBA trade rumors. Speculations are now rife that the NBA team is looking for trade partners to get rid of Butler and sign a more capable star.
"To tell you the truth, I don't pay attention to the rumors," said Butler of the NBA trade rumors surrounding his tenure with the Chicago Bulls. He added, "Somebody sent [the story] to me today, and I just clicked off of it. I mean, why am I getting in [to the speculation]? I can't control it. I can't say don't do this or don't do that. That's not my job. If I do what I'm supposed to do on the floor, then everything else takes care of itself. I'm a firm believer in that."
Aside from Butler, the Chicago Bulls are reportedly figuring out a way to get rid of Fred Hoiberg. The head coach, who replaced veteran Tom Thibodeau this NBA season, has been widely criticized for his failure to maximize the potential of the talents in his team. Does this mean that Hoiberg will be fired soon, too?
"They need to just shut up," lashed out Gibson in response to the criticisms on Hoiberg and his leadership. He added. "Everybody tries to discredit this man, and it's rough," Gibson said. He added, "He's a rookie coach taking on a veteran group. Give him some slack, man. It's hard enough as it is to come in. You've got the whole city of Chicago on your back. But I think he's just learning, doing a good job. He's staying with us, and I'm riding with him no matter what."
Amid the NBA trade rumors and the issues in the coaching staff, the Chicago Bulls appear hopeful that they can still turn this season around. Butler, when commenting on the team's capacity to reach the top of the LeBron James division, shared his optimism on the task. According to him, the Chicago Bulls will regain their traction and will eventually shine once again in the Eastern Conference.
Butler said of their playoffs chances, "You'll never hear me say that we're going to lose. This is my team. This is our team. I like the group of guys that we have. I'm confident that we'll continue to win games and we'll find ourselves in the playoffs."