Jimmy Butler and other Chicago Bulls players have taken issue with the front office for being paranoid about internal criticism, according to Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times. Butler reportedly told players to beware of Randy Brown and other assistant coaches who could tell management about what's said in the locker room.

From the Chicago Sun-Times:

Butler, as well as several other Bulls players, have also had issues with the "spying'' that goes on in the locker room, with Butler warning new players that if they didn't want Forman to hear criticism, don't talk in front of certain assistant coaches like Randy Brown.

The belief is that the Bulls love to gather as much ammunition as they can on players, so they can win the press conference when the break-up comes, whether it's a trade or free agency.

"They did it with Lu [Luol Deng], they did it with Jo [Noah] and Derrick [Rose],'' a source said. "That's how they operate.''

This, like the recent report that the front office threatened to bench Butler for Tony Snell when he declined to sign an extension in the summer of 2014, paints a picture of a chilly relationship between the franchise and the franchise player. It's the kind of thing that can damage the reputation of the organization among players, perhaps even more so than poor personnel decisions ... like, for example, deciding to add both Dwyane Wade and Rajon Rondo last offseason instead of adding shooting and athleticism.

In general, players want to believe their front office is trying to do what's best for the team and also trying to do right by its players on a personal level. They want to be confident that executives are being honest and upfront with them, not actively trying to catch them saying the wrong thing at the wrong time. If there is really this much distrust here, it's troubling.

Amid quite a few distractions like this, the Bulls had perhaps their best victory of the season Wednesday, beating the Oklahoma City Thunder 128-100 behind Butler's 28 points, five assists and eight rebounds.