The Chicago Bulls have never really been known around the NBA for their top tier culture in the locker room, and Dwyane Wade just confirmed that.
One of the most spectacular playoff runs in recent memory, outside of what Kawhi Leonard and the Toronto Raptors did last year, is happening right now with former Chicago Bulls star wing Jimmy Butler and the five-seed Miami Heat pushing through to the Eastern Conference Finals. “Jimmy G. Buckets” and the Heat have only lost one game in 11 in their playoff run so far. That includes a 2-0 series lead over the three-seed Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals, a five-game romping of the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks, and a first round sweep of the four-seed Indiana Pacers.
This was never a version of Butler that the Bulls previous front office regime likely thought was going to show up. But here we are. More than three years ago, John Paxson and Gar Forman elected to send Butler to the Minnesota Timberwolves in that crucial 2017 offseason trade deal that officially started the rebuild this team is still in.
That Bulls team that was first round and out in the playoffs to cap the 2016-17 season was one of the harder ones to watch in recent memory to, at least that made it to the postseason.
A key piece of that Bulls team was the legendary Heat shooting guard and future Hall-of-Famer Dwyane Wade. And Wade had some interesting things to say recently in a piece from ESPN’s Zach Lowe regarding the cultural differences between the Bulls and Heat.
He mentioned in this piece that he “never appreciated” the Heat’s culture within the organization really until he played in that one season with the Bulls. That is a telling sign of the differences between the two organizations, but not really all that surprising at the same time.
The Bulls and Heat have two very different images around the NBA, and it shows with the current levels of success that each is having in the current year. The Heat are also usually a team that is a much more appealing free agent destination to the top stars around the NBA.
Wade is a Chicago native, and management loved to make that move of bringing back big names for Windy City reunions. But that move hasn’t really worked out of late, as the likes of Wade and Jabari Parker flamed out from their tenure with the Bulls.