As expected, the NBA Draft found many teams moving around players and picks to position themselves to contend next season. One name thrown around a lot was Jimmy Butler, former star forward for the Chicago Bulls who has now found a home in the Minnesota Timberwolves.
There were initial rumors of the Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Lakers, and Cleveland Cavaliers being interested in 2015’s Most Improved Player. These rumors were followed up by the news that Cavaliers’ players reached out to Butler, encouraging him to avoid coming to Cleveland as there are many internal issues stemming from the firing of General Manager David Griffin. After weighing his options, the three-time NBA All Defensive Team honoree expressed his desire to stay in Chicago.
The trade sent Butler and the rights to the Bulls’ 16th pick Justin Patton to Minnesota, in exchange for guards Zach Levine and Kris Dunn, and the rights to the Wolves’ 7th pick, 7-footer Lauri Markkanen. This trade will reunite Butler with former Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau and allow him to join up with rising sensations Andrew Wiggins and Karl Anthony Towns. While the Bulls definitely got the short end of the stick and a lot of responsibility will fall on veterans Dwyane Wade and Rajon Rondo, the Timberwolves may now have the pieces to contend for a playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Today Jimmy Butler said goodbye to the Chicago Bulls in a long Instagram post:
Chicago, What can I say?! I truly struggle with the words because you’ve been so much more than just my home for the last 6 years, you’ve been my life! You’ve embraced me like a son and pushed me to get better every day, every season. I can honestly say that I have always been incredibly motivated to succeed; it’s just the way I’m built. But I know I owe so much to the person I am now, and to the player that I’ve become, to you. You always pushed me to never give anything less than my absolute best night in, night out. That’s what you expected. That’s what you deserved. And, I hope you know that’s what I dedicated my life to every time I walked into the facility or stepped on the floor of the United Center. Thank you to the entire Bulls organization and Reinsdorf Family for taking a chance on me in 2011 and for giving me the opportunity to play the sport I love for such a great franchise. I’ll never forget the feeling I had when I was drafted and when I played my first minutes. It’s an experience that I wouldn’t have wanted with any other team and I’m so thankful to you for giving me that opportunity. Chicago, I love you. Thanks for embracing a kid from Tomball like one of your own. On to a new home and a new organization. Thankfully, with some familiar faces! PS… AND PROBABLY MOST IMPORTANT! THANK YOU TO EVERYBODY BEHIND THE ORGANIZATION THAT DO NOT GET THE SHINE THAT THEY DESERVE!! YALL ARE THE REAL ALL-STARS!! – Jimmy G. Buckets (@staceyking21 )