A large picture of Dwyane Wade dominated the front page of the Chicago Tribune’s sports section on Friday morning as his former teammates are in town.
It’s not exactly a glowing feature advancing the game.
There’s no way Wade could have pictured this scenario when he signed with the Bulls over the summer.
The Tribune’s large red-and-black headline above Wade’s photo shouts ‘Disfunction’ as the honeymoon between Wade and his hometown Bulls is most definitely over.
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Not to be outdone, the Chicago Sun-Times’ back cover featured Rajon Rondo with the caption ‘Mouthy Guard’ after he came out on his Instagram account and blasted Wade and Jimmy Butler for their comments following Chicago’s home loss to Atlanta on Wednesday night.
“Everyone don't care enough,” Wade said to reporters afterward. “You got to care enough, man. It's got to mean that much to you to want to win. And it doesn't. So I don't know what happened.
“I don't know how you fix it. It just doesn't mean enough to guys around here to want to win ballgames. ... I can't care too much for these guys. They have to care for themselves. You got to do better. You got to do better with knowing where your shot's coming and knock them down. You got to do better with knowing film, knowing personnel. Just as a team, just got to do better, man.”
Said Butler: “If you're not [mad] after you lose every game, something's wrong. This is your job. This is supposed to be what you love to do. Not everybody looks at it this way. I want to play with guys who care and play hard and want to do well for this organization, that want to win games.”
On Thursday afternoon, Rondo — who could be on his way out of Chicago as early as Friday — replied to Wade’s criticizms through social media. On Instagram, Rondo posted a picture of himself during his Boston days with Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce and a long, scathing commentary.
“My vets would never go to the media. They would come to the team. My vets didn't pick and choose when they wanted to bring it. They brought it every time they stepped in the gym whether it was practice or a game. They didn't take days off. ...
“The young guys work. They show up. They don't deserve blame. If anything is questionable, it's the leadership.”
While the Bulls have been bickering this week, the Miami Heat has enjoyed a bit of a renaissance.
Sure, the Heat has struggled this season and are still in line for a lottery pick this season, but things have been pretty good lately. Miami’s five-game winning streak is the longest active run in the NBA as the Heat snapped Golden State’s seven-game streak on Monday night.
Wednesday, the Heat overcame a double-digit deficit to kick off the fourth quarter before coming back to beat the host Brooklyn Nets 109-106 as Dion Waiters hit a game-deciding 3-pointer after beating the Warriors with a trifecta on Monday night.
“He has that almost irrational confidence,” Erik Spoelstra said of Waiters. “You need that. I feel very comfortable with the ball in his hands, especially in key, clutch moments.
“He really stepped up in the fourth quarter.”
Although the Bulls still hold the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference despite coming into Friday’s game at 23-24, things definitely don’t feel good in Chicago.
On Tuesday, Wade told the Sun-Times he would consider opting out of the two-year deal he took with the Bulls when he left the Heat after 13 seasons last summer if things don’t improve.
“No question about it, what happens throughout this year as I go into my summer, I’ll definitely take a look at it,” Wade said.
“I take my career seriously, and where I am, where I want to be, and I will do the same thing this summer.”
FRIDAY: HEAT AT BULLS
▪ When, where: 8 p.m.; United Center, Chicago.
▪ TV/Radio: SUN; WAXY 790, WAQI 710.
▪ The last time out: Dwyane Wade scores 13 points in his return to AmericanAirlines Arena as Chicago beats the Heat 98-95 on Nov. 10.