Newest Bull Butler sees special chance
By Herb Gould email@example.com March 4, 2011 11:48PM
Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM
ORLANDO — The decision to join the Bulls was an easy one, Rasual Butler said after working out with his new teammates for the first time Friday morning.
‘‘They have arguably the best point guard, and best player, in the league in Derrick Rose,’’ said Butler, 31, who signed a free-agent deal with the Bulls Thursday after the Los Angeles Clippers bought him out of his contract. ‘‘After speaking to [general manager] Gar Forman and coach [Tom] Thibodeau, it was a no-brainer for me.
‘‘I understand the direction this team is going in. It was something I wanted to be a part of, knowing they have an opportunity to do something special this year.’’
Butler wants to be in Chicago for more than just this spring, and he believes the Bulls would like to see that happen, too.
‘‘That’s the way I’m coming into it,’’ Butler said. ‘‘That’s the way Gar Forman and Coach Thibs spoke to me about it: Come in and be really professional, do the things that they’ve heard I do, and we’ll see how things work out.’’
Still, Butler knows he’ll need to prove he deserves playing time.
‘‘These guys are 41-18,’’ he said. ‘‘They’ve done an excellent job. The guys in the rotation have earned their time in that rotation. I just have to come in and fit in and work hard, and see when my opportunity presents itself.’’
No Magic moment
Thibodeau, who now has 13 players and can only dress 12, did not activate Butler against the Magic on Friday night but said he expects the nine-year veteran to learn the Bulls’ defense and offensive sets quickly.
‘‘I want him to get some practices under his belt,’’ Thibodeau said. ‘‘We’re excited to have him. He’s been a good pro for a long time, a solid veteran who can shoot the ball and a good defender. He’s a good fit for us.’’
Thibodeau plans to ease Butler into action depending on matchups or if situations arise.
‘‘Our rotation’s not going to change unless there’s an injury,’’ he said, while adding that Butler’s belief he can play his way into a longer-term situation is well-founded.
‘‘This could be a very good opportunity for him. You can never have enough shooting and you never know how things play out.’’
In the Bulls’ five games before Friday’s win over Orlando, Rose shot 35.9 percent (36-for-103), down from his average of 44.2 percent. Thibodeau said there was no need to be overly concerned.
‘‘I wouldn’t overreact,’’ the coach said. ‘‘He hasn’t made some shots he normally makes. There’s going to be stretches where he doesn’t shoot it great. He’s been around long enough now that he just needs to be consistent with his work, keep working on his shooting and it’ll come around for him.’’