Jimmy Butler says he, Fred Hoiberg 'learning a lot about each other'

CHICAGO -- A little more than a week after calling out first-year coach Fred Hoiberg and saying Hoiberg needed to coach the Chicago Bulls "a lot harder," All-Star swingman Jimmy Butler said he and Hoiberg are "learning a lot about each other" and that Hoiberg is "holding him accountable" for his play.

"I still got respect for him," Butler said after scoring 28 points in a 102-100 overtime win over the Indiana Pacers. "I don't think it's a different light. Nothing I do is to disrespect anybody. I think he realizes I'm going to be here, I realize he's going to be here, so we got to deal with each other anyways. I think that he's holding me accountable for everything. He talked to me whenever I was low energy last game, and I fixed it. That's the type of guy he is. He has the utmost confidence in me because he continually put the ball in my hand when he didn't have to."

Butler, who scored the winning basket after tipping in a Pau Gasol pass, was reflective after the game about his relationship with Hoiberg. He praised the way Hoiberg, 43, has been trying to communicate with him.

"I think we're both learning a lot about each other," Butler said. "He's probably learning how moody I am on a daily basis, to tell you the truth. And it's hard, but I think he lets me be who I am. He handles everything that I do very well. I'm not a big communicator, I'm not great at it, but he's always talking to me. He's always asking, 'How are you doing? What can we do?' He's always asking my opinion on a lot of things. Yeah, it helped a lot."

Butler, who scored only five points in Monday's win over the Toronto Raptors and had not spoken to the media in a couple of days, said he did not want to go into specifics as to why he did not put up his usual numbers Monday.

"There's always something going on in my life," Butler said. "I mean, it doesn't really matter. I can't let it affect my on-the-court play."

As for his relationship with his teammates in the wake of his comments, Butler said he believes that bonds remains strong. ESPN's Zach Lowe wrote recently that Butler's rise to stardom has caused "some minor hard feelings within the team."

The feeling from many within the organization is that Butler's personality has changed over the past year during that rise, which included Butler signing an extension for more than $90 million over the summer. Butler has been open about the fact that he is adjusting to his new role as a leader, a mantle he has never had to wear on a daily basis before.

"We're always close," he said. "We're always looking out for each other. I don't think what happened last week has anything to do with it. We always got each other's best interest at heart. We always want each other to succeed. On top of everything else, everybody in here wants to win for one another. I think that's going to be that moving forward, and we're only going to get closer."

Butler said he believes the open communication he has with Hoiberg and the rest of the coaching staff is only going to help him.

"Always something going on in my head, that's what it is," he said of his mindset. "I could come in a happy-go-lucky guy, or when something's bothering me, it's I don't got no energy, and you can really tell, and he's always like, 'Yo, you want to sit down and talk?' Whether it's him, it's [Jim] Boylen, it's Charlie [Henry], it's Randy [Brown], they're checking in on me, man. That's a lot of love. It's very important to me."

Butler said Wednesday's win and his key performance in it don't mean more to him in the grand scheme of the season.

"Nah, not really," he said. "I'm going to get criticized anyway. Some people are going to like me, some people aren't. It's fine. I just got to try and focus in on what we got going here and not let the outside things really bother [me]."