CHICAGO -- Jimmy Butler says he doesn't regret the comments he made Saturday after the Chicago Bulls loss to the New York Knicks in which he said Fred Hoiberg had to coach the team "a lot harder."
"Do I regret it? No." Butler said after Monday's shootaround. "[I was] a little frustrated after a loss, yeah, but then again, I put a lot of it on myself now because I gotta lead better, can't allow stuff to happen. Yeah, we lost one I didn't want to lose at home against Detroit and the way that we lost against New York. You got raw emotion right then and there [after the Knicks game]."
Butler's comments after Saturday's game were stunning given that players don't often call out coaches by name so publicly. He said Monday that he "was never calling out my coach," who has "done great through these 25 games," and admitted that "the media probably wasn't the best outlet for my frustration," as it "likes to get carried away with stuff."
"We're going to be here so I think we have to make it work. We have to make it work within this team. And I know that we will."Jimmy Butler on fitting in Fred Hoiberg's system
Hoiberg, in his first season as Bulls coach, said he was not hurt by the comments and that he and Butler met in his office for an hour on Sunday, a meeting which he termed "mutual."
"It's a great question," Hoiberg said when asked if he needed to coach this group harder. "Are there some things I can do better? Sure. Are there some things that all of us can do better? Absolutely. Are there some things I need to demand probably a little bit more? Sure. But it's something where I thought we made a lot of progress as a team. It's getting back to those things we demanded leading into that win streak. It's about staying consistent with that and continue to build off what made us a successful team that week."
Butler also said he met with his teammates in the wake of his comments and believes the group accepts him as a leader.
"Yeah, you can't hide the elephant in the room," Butler said of the comments. "I think everybody knew what was going on today when we talked in the building. So it was taken care of and it was good that it happened."
Butler acknowledged that this was the first time in his basketball career that he has undertaken a leadership role and that there was a "learning curve" involved in that.
"I've never been in this position before in my life," Butler said. "Not high school, not junior college and not here. So I'm learning. it's different, a lot goes into this, and there's good and bad."
When asked which players he felt needed to be coached harder, Butler said that conversation needed to start with himself.
"Me, truthfully," Butler said. "I mean that. Myself. I think if you could set an example out of me the way that I'm playing right now at a high level, it will make it easier for guys to take criticism on this floor, on this team. And then if they see me react like a child and pout and whine then it gives them a reason to do so. But I'm not going to do that. So I won't give them a reason to do that."
Butler said he and Hoiberg discussed his role within the team as part of their conversation on Sunday.
"I think so," Butler, who signed a five-year extension worth over $90 million in the summer, said when he was asked if he felt he fit in Hoiberg's system. "I have to be. Because he signed here for five years, I signed here for five years. We're going to be here, so I think we have to make it work. We have to make it work within this team. And I know that we will.
"He's a hell of a coach, he's doing what's right right now by everybody. And it's a learning curve for everybody. We're only, what, 25 games in? So we'll be all right."
Hoiberg remains hopeful that the experience can turn into a "positive" for his group moving forward.
"It absolutely can turn into a positive," Hoiberg said. "That's all we can do moving forward. The situation happened. Now we have to get better because of it. I think the last couple days have been a step in that direction."