On the latest Bill Simmons Podcast, Jimmy Butler stopped by to discuss being a draft steal, his old coach Tom Thibodeau, and guarding LeBron James and Steph Curry. He visited amid trade rumors about him, but we’ll let him tell you about that. To listen to the whole episode and catch up with all Bill Simmons Podcast episodes, click here. This transcript has been lightly edited and condensed.
Bill Simmons: Are you worried [the Bulls are] just going to rebuild? And just blow it up?
Jimmy Butler: I don’t think I have anything to worry about. I can’t control it. It’s not my job. I don’t worry about it. They ask my opinion on some things, which I give them my opinion.
J.B.: Oh yeah.
B.S.: Do they email you? What do they do?
J.B.: It’s weird because they have this thing called cellphones … You can pick ’em up.
B.S.: Oh, cellphones. [Laughing.] Yeah.
J.B.: And if you got the other person’s 10 digits, just call ’em, or text ’em. They can do that also.
B.S.: That’s a big moment when you get the call with somebody throwing an idea at you from a personnel standpoint. It’s like one of the signature moments of the rise of an NBA star.
J.B.: I don’t think so.
B.S.: No, I’m proud of you; I think this is great.
J.B.: I think they just want to check up on me, and then that question may come up. I don’t think they call just for that reason.
B.S.: Did they call you after the weird trade rumors came out?
J.B.: No, ’cause it’s just a rumor.
B.S.: If I was the GM of your team, I would call you every time there was a weird trade rumor.
J.B.: You would?
B.S.: Yeah, I’d be like, “Jimmy, don’t listen to those guys. Keep doing your thing, keep getting up at 5:45 a.m.”
J.B.: No, I’m gonna do that anyways …
B.S.: “Keep hitting those corner 3s for me.”
J.B.: I can hit more than just a corner 3, though.
B.S.: Well, you kind of dismissed the 3-point line a little bit. I didn’t like it.
B.S.: That’s the last step for you. You get to like 43, 44 percent on those, that’s it. You’re going to [get] first- or second-team All-NBA.
J.B.: It is another step. But, if we make it to the playoffs, if we win X amount of games, you can still make it. I think all that stuff is based on if you win or not.
B.S.: The All-NBA stuff?
J.B.: All of that, if you win …
B.S.: I happened to have a vote. Guess what I did? I steered everything toward Warriors guys. I put Draymond on the first team.
B.S.: Tell me about the Derrick Rose situation and what it’s like to play with someone who just has bad luck. He just had some of the worst luck anyone’s had in the past 30 years, over and over again. Every time he was about to get over the hump, something would happen.
J.B.: Yeah, it’s tough. Obviously physically, but mentally because you always have to think, “I want my body to hold up. I want to be able to play. I want to help my team win,” which I know is on his mind. You can say that you feel for him, you understand him, but you don’t because it didn’t happen to you.
I don’t get mad at him for anything because he works so incredibly hard. I know he’s training right now, and just to see what he brings to the table every night for his city of Chicago — where he was born and bred — I think that for that to happen like it did in the manner it did every single year, that’s tough on him.
That’s tough on you as a player because, not only is your body affected, but your mind’s gone with it. That’s all you’re worrying about. And rightfully so. You kind of have to because you wanna play this game — this game that you love, that you’ve been playing your entire life — for as long as you can. So you got to be be cautious about your body.
B.S.: I was lucky enough to see him a couple times before he got hurt, those first two years, in person. I think there are certain guys who are just different in person, like Westbrook, LeBron. Rose, and Westbrook, to me, were on the exact same level, athletically, and they’re both fearless. You’d watch Rose, and you’d be like, “My God. This guy — he just doesn’t care. He has no regard for his body. He’s just flying into the lane at warp speed, which is basically the way Westbrook plays.” I haven’t seen him get that back since the last, maybe, two injuries ago. It hasn’t come back, but he’s young enough that it can.
Make the case for why you guys make sense in the same backcourt. Because you could, arguably, both have the ball, and a lot of the offense could run through either of you.
J.B.: Maybe I’m a little taller, he’s a little faster. We can both attack the rim, we can both beat our guy, get shots for other players, finish at the rim, midrange, and we can both really guard. Get out in the open floor. There are so many things that we have in common that when we utilize those things and play together like that, I think we can be just as unguardable as anybody else.