It’s now common knowledge in the NBA that Jimmy Butler was traded from the Timberwolves to the 76ers earlier this season, but what about the other Jimmy Butler trade? The one that sent him to Minnesota?
During draft night of 2017, the Chicago Bulls pulled off a blockbuster trade: they were sending their franchise player, in Jimmy Butler in exchange for Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn, and a 7th overall pick that eventually became Lauri Markkanen. At the time, people were saying that the Bulls made a horrible trade, and that the Timberwolves just picked up a huge steal in Butler – things are somewhat different now.
To start off, many NBA fans were wondering why the Bulls organisation would trade Jimmy Butler; he was the best player in the team and was only 27 years of age. It was actually quite a savvy move for the Bulls to make, as they knew that Butler had a lot of trade value at that moment, and they wanted to get some young talent that their team lacked.
The team wasn’t going anywhere with Butler leading the pack, as the Bulls were fighting for the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference for quite a while. No one saw them as serious contenders, and the front office had to do something about it. That’s why they decided to pull the trigger on the Butler deal.
The first piece of the trade that the Bulls received was a 21 year old Zach LaVine. LaVine showed a great deal of potential, as at such a young age, he was already averaging 19 PPG. The young shooting guard is now averaging 25.0 PPG, 5.3 RPG, and 4.7 APG. And at the age of just 23, it’s crazy to think how good he can become.
Another player that the Bulls received, as mentioned earlier was Kris Dunn. The defensive-minded point guard averaged an impressive 13.4 PPG, 4.2 RPG and 6.0 APG. This season, he’s only played one game, as he’s out with a left knee injury. Hopefully Dunn can come back strong from that injury soon. There’s no timetable for his return, and expect the Bulls to err on the side of caution when bringing him back to the court.
Finally, the 7th overall pick in the 2017 NBA draft turned into power forward, Lauri Markkanen. Markkanen played 68 games last season and averaged 15.2 PPG, 7.5 PPG, 1.2 APG. He just played his first game this season on Saturday against Houston after coming back from injury, and looked healthy in the contest. That’s a great sign for himself and the team, as he’s become a fan favourite for the Bulls thus far.
With all of the drama that happened in Minnesota surrounding Butler, the Timberwolves didn’t exactly get what the former-Bull was worth. He was often known as a bad locker room guy who would sometimes cause problems with the development of the younger players. And that’s exactly what the Bulls managed to get rid of in exchange for a group of young players that can shape the future of the team. Although the Bulls probably won’t make the playoffs this year, they will do so eventually. And when they do, their core will most likely be made up of these three young guys that they received from the Butler deal.
That’s how a trade that may have not looked so smart in the past, turned into a great deal for the Bulls. They now are a good, young team with a great future ahead of them. If you’re a Bulls fan, you definitely don’t have to worry about your team’s future when you have this kind of roster.