Jimmy Butler was reunited with his old coach, Tom Thibodeau on Thursday night. The Minnesota Timberwolves traded for Butler and sent Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn and the seventh overall draft pick.
The Wolves also received the Bulls’ 16th pick, and selected Creighton center Justin Patton.
Butler, a six-year NBA veteran, is 27-years old and averaged 23.9 points, 6.2 rebounds and 5.5 assists per game last year for the Bulls. He’s averaged 20+ points the last three years.
Butler gives the Timberwolves another shooter, in which they desperately needed. Minnesota’s starting line-up will now feature Ricky Rubio at point guard, Andrew Wiggins at shooting guard, Butler at small forward, Gorgui Dieng at power forward and Karl Anthony-Towns at center.
There were rumors that Butler could be headed for Cleveland, but those dissipated after the Cavs parted with ways with David Griffin and the future beyond next season looked dim for beyond 2018.
The Butler trade for Minnesota gets an A grade. Butler is a great player on both ends of the floor. He not only bring offense, but is sound defensively. Minnesota allowed 109.1 points per possession last season, which was good for 26th in the NBA. Butler should improve that, as he can guard other team’s stars. Adding Butler also takes pressure off of Towns and Wiggins. And Rubio can do what he does best, pass the basketball and make the Wolves’ new big three look good.
For the Bulls, this was at least a C grade. LaVine is coming off a ACL injury, and Dunn struggled in his rookie year. Chicago grabbed Arizona forward Lauri Markkanen, who is a seven-footer that can step outside and shoot. But what does this Butler trade look like for Dwyane Wade, who just announced he is taking his 23.8 million dollar player option? Also, Rajon Rondo’s contract for 2017-2018 isn’t guaranteed, either. The Bulls were a playoff team this past season, but now it looks like they are rebuilding and many are wondering what Gar Foreman and John Paxson are doing.
The Timberpuppies grew up Thursday night into Timberwolves and won draft night. However, there’s no more excuses. It’s time for the Wolves to howl and make the postseason, which is something they haven’t done since 2004.