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Ex-Bucks point guard Michael Carter-Williams has crazy story involving Jimmy Butler and moment he knew Giannis was going to take over NBA

Michael Carter-Williams has been in a lot of locker rooms during his NBA career, including with the Milwaukee Bucks.

Carter-Williams, now 32 years old who last played in the NBA in 2022-23, saw up close the potential of a young Giannis Antetokounmpo and also butted heads with then-Bucks coach Jason Kidd prior to being traded.

But his craziest experience happened during his one season in Chicago as a member of the Bulls in 2016-17, thanks to an exchange between Marquette alum Jimmy Butler and head coach Fred Hoiberg.

It's one of the takeaways from Carter-Williams' recent appearance on Bucks forward Thanasis Antetokounmpo's podcast, The Thanalysis Show.

Jimmy Butler calls head coach Hoiberg 'soft' in tense locker room moment

The Bucks traded Carter-Williams to the Bulls before the start of the 2016-17 season in return for Tony Snell. Carter-Williams would join a roster that appeared to be one of the best in the Eastern Conference. It had future Hall of Famer Dwyane Wade in what was a homecoming for the Chicago native and Marquette alum, it had NBA champion and All-Star guard Rajon Rondo and it had the All-Star Butler. Future Bucks players Bobby Portis, Nikola Mirotić and Robin Lopez were also on the roster.

It never worked.

The writing was on the wall — or the locker room — from the beginning of the season, Carter-Williams said. It centered around an interaction between Butler and Hoiberg.

"I love Jimmy, Jimmy’s a great dude, but this is crazy," Carter-Williams said. "Our locker room was bad. It was right in the beginning of the year. ... Everybody was pissed off. Jimmy wasn’t getting along with coach Hoiberg. We had a team meeting."

Butler's frustrations stemmed from the previous game, Carter-Williams recalled, when Hoiberg apparently didn't stand up for his players to his liking when calls were going against them.

"Coach Hoiberg, is like 'Jimmy this starts with me and you, what’s going on?'" Carter-Williams remembered.

That's when Butler, who was in his sixth year with the Bulls, went off on his coach.

"Well one, I think you’re soft. Two, I don’t like you," Carter-Williams recalled. "He didn’t even get to (point) three. Coach Hoiberg is like, well (f---) you, Jimmy.

"So that’s how the meeting started. I’m sitting in the corner, I never heard this in my entire life."

The assistant coaches, one of whom included former Bucks assistant Jim Boylen, couldn't believe it, either.

"Jimmy’s a good dude," Carter-Williams said. "But it was frustrating times. You know his personality. You got to fight, show that passion."

The Bulls finished 41-41 and were the eighth and final seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs that season. They even had the top-seeded Boston Celtics on the ropes, up 2-0, before losing their next four games and the series. Rondo fracturing his right thumb in Game 2 of the series was the difference, Carter-Williams said.

Three of its top players that season — Wade, Butler and Rondo — were all gone the next season. So was Carter-Williams.

"That was one of the craziest things I’ve ever seen," Carter-Williams said.

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Michael Carter-Williams recalls realizing Giannis Antetokounmpo's potential

Carter-Williams spent a year-and-a-half with the Bucks from 2014-16 after spending the first year-and-a-half of his NBA career in Philadelphia. Carter-Williams was selected by the 76ers four picks before Antetokounmpo in the 2013 NBA draft and became rookie of the year. Now, they were teammates.

Carter-Williams remembers seeing an earlier version of Antetokounmpo, still years away from winning back-to-back MVPs and leading the Bucks to the NBA title.

"It was crazy even watching Giannis play early on," Carter-Williams recalls. "He would have six to 10 plays where you’re like this is crazy. Those six plays turned into 15, turned into 20. Once he’s more consistent, it’s over, it’s a wrap (for the rest of the NBA)."

Moment between Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jabari Parker showed the fire of the two

The 76ers' motto years ago as they were consistently selecting at the top of the draft was "Trust the Process."

The Bucks were also floundering at this time. What was the Bucks' slogan?

"The Freak," Carter-Williams joked, referencing Antetokounmpo's nickname.

"They stayed the course, they stuck to their guns," Carter-Williams said. "They had Khris (Middleton), they had a good supporting cast. They brought Zaza Pachulia in there. Just good mentors. O.J. Mayo, John Henson. Him and Giannis used to go at each other all the time in practice. Michael Beasley."

But it came down to Antetokounmpo's growth as a player.

"I remember when I was in Milwaukee it was every day, me and (Giannis) lifting," Carter-Williams said. "Every day he was hoopin'."

There was a moment between Antetokounmpo, Jabari Parker, the No. 2 overall pick in 2014, and himself in a summer session when he knew that Giannis was "about to take over the league."

"Jabari and Giannis going back and forth calling fouls," Carter-Williams recalled. "I got pissed, you have to play ball, no more calling fouls. I snapped on them both. Once I said that, them two turned into two animals. I'm playing against them, they lower their shoulder. I probably shouldn't have said no fouls. Then they started going at each other."

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Michael Carter-Williams describes his relationship with Jason Kidd

Carter-Williams arrived in Milwaukee when Jason Kidd was the head coach.

Kidd, after a successful playing career, was in his second year leading a young Bucks team. Carter-Williams is a point guard like Kidd was during his playing career.

"He has an interesting perspective since he played the game so long," Carter-Williams said. "I remember in game situations (he said) look for this, look for that (and) it would be on point."

The two never meshed, however.

"It was tough at times," Carter-Williams said. "I felt like there was a lot of turmoil between him and I. Milwaukee wasn’t an easy process for me. Me and him could never get on the same page. We’d have film sessions me and him going back and forth just about little stuff. Him telling me I'd be playing buddy ball with Giannis.

"I was young 22 at the time. I take accountability for the things I did. We couldn’t figure it out. That led me to getting bounced to Chicago."

Carter-Williams played in 79 games with the Bucks and started all six of the team's playoff games during the 2016 season against the Bulls. He averaged about 30 minutes per game, 12.8 points, 5.4 assists and shot 44%.

Kidd, fired by the Bucks midway through the 2017-18 season, has led the Dallas Mavericks to the 2024 NBA Finals in his third season as their head coach.

This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Ex-NBA player Michael Carter-Williams gives wild story on Jimmy Butler