SACRAMENTO—Jimmy Butler was drenched in sweat after he went through morning shootaround in Sacramento, increasing the chance that he’ll play against the Kings as the Bulls are nearing the midway point of their longest road swing left in the season.
Butler’s right heel contusion doesn’t sound like it’s gotten much better but he’s a gametime decision as the Bulls hope to climb back to .500 with a win.
The pain is still at a “six to seven” scale, so with this being a critical time of year he'll play if he can gut it out and be reasonably effective
“The way I look at it is if I’m going to go out there I think to the best of my ability that I can help this team win,” Butler said. “If I feel like I’m going to hurt this team I’m not going to go because I’m going to play the same way I always play, being aggressive on both ends of the floor. So if I can go, I’m going to go. If I can’t then somebody else will have to fill that void.”
Michael Carter-Williams started in Butler’s place Friday and performed well, as Carter-Williams’ presence in the first five will be the case again if Butler doesn’t go.
Butler’s foot was wrapped up after he finished a shooting session.
"Yeah, but I mean we didn’t do too much,” Butler said. "We gotta see what happens when the adrenaline starts going, when you get up and down a little bit. Hopefully it’s a different story."
What also hasn’t changed is both the Bulls’ standing near the bottom of the Eastern Conference playoff picture as well as the Bulls’ lack of verbal commitment to Butler as a player they’ll keep and build around for the future.
Butler is in the middle of a five-year contract he signed after the 2014-15 season, but his name is routinely mentioned in the rumor mill as the Bulls mull a reload or rebuild.
Butler insists the lack of commitment from the front office doesn’t bother him, even as he prepares to play through pain for the franchise yet again.
“Nope. Nothing surprises me nowadays,” Butler said. “You know that. I’m not surprised by anything. Anything is possible. It’s a business at the end of the day. I love it here. They know that. The city knows that.”
Most franchise players are kept in the loop by management and have their opinions valued and gauged to some degree. It doesn’t appear that’s the case with Butler and the front office as it’s been reasonably speculated he doesn’t have the best relationship with general manager Gar Forman and vice president of basketball operations John Paxson.
"Nope. I’m good. I’ll stay in my lane, play basketball,” Butler said when asked if he wants to be kept abreast of potential acquisitions.
"That’s their job. My job is to get better every day, go out there and try to win games," he said. "I don’t tell them what to do. Like I said before, I don’t move guys. That’s not me. So whatever they decide to do as an organization, us an organization, we’re all living with that and we’re all riding with that. We all still have to go out there and try to win no matter the situation we’re put in or the people they put here."