Jimmy Butler posted a touching tribute to his now former teammate Derrick Rose after news broke Wednesday that Rose was being traded by the Bulls.
“My point guard, my brother,” the post began. “You taught me so much since I came into this league as a 21 year old kid from Marquette. For me, coming to Chicago to play and learn from you, an MVP, was eye-opening.”
The Chicago Bulls sent point guard Derrick Rose to the New York Knicks in a blockbuster trade Wednesday afternoon. They also traded Justin Holiday and a second-round pick in the 2017 NBA Draft in exchange for Jerian Grant, Robin Lopez, and Jose Calderon from the Knicks.
Many have hinted in recent seasons at a power struggle between Butler and Rose, but it appears Butler put those rumors to rest Wednesday.
“You helped shape me into the player I am today,” he wrote on Instagram. “Helped teach me the work ethic needed to excel in this league. You are a leader, thru and thru. Always a supportive teammate and friend.”
In a statement, Chicago Bulls Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf said that the decision to part ways with Rose was a difficult one.
“Knowing Derrick as I do makes this trade a hard one. Everyone knows him as the local kid who became MVP for his hometown team, but not everyone got to know him like I did. While he is a terrific basketball player, he is an even better person with a tremendous heart,” he said in a statement. “I wish him the best of health for the remainder of his career, and I want to personally thank him for everything that he did on the court and in the community during his time with the Chicago Bulls.”
Ever since winning the NBA MVP award in 2011, Rose has seen his tenure with the Bulls derailed on numerous occasions by injuries. Dealing with a torn ACL and a torn meniscus during the intervening years, Rose was able to stay mostly healthy in the 2015-16 season, but still missed 16 games as he averaged 16.4 points and 4.7 assists per game in his final season with the Bulls.
“I'll always be thankful for the opportunity I had to play alongside you each night and I know you're going to continue to be the great player and leader you were in Chicago for years to come,” Butler wrote.