Jimmy Butler, traded to the Timberwolves during Thursday’s NBA Draft, took to social media Friday to thank the Bulls and their fans for his time in Chicago.
To the city of Chicago, Butler wrote: “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.
“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.”
In his message, Butler thanked the organization and the Reinsdorf Family for drafting him in 2011 before especially thanking (in all caps) “EVERYBODY BEHIND THE ORGANIZATION THAT DO NOT GET THE SHINE THAT THEY DESERVE!! YALL ARE THE REAL ALL-STARS !!”
Butler was dealt to the Wolves for a package of Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn and Minnesota’s No. 7 pick in Thursdays’ draft. Chicago also forfeited their own No. 16 pick in the trade.
That’s a modest return for a player who gave his all as a Bull.
Butler was moved for two reasons: He was set to command a $200-plus million contract in free agency in 2019, and the Bulls’ front office was split on whether he could be the face of the franchise moving forward. At the end, they parted with the All-Star for pennies on the dollar.
But Butler’s accomplishments as a Bull shouldn’t be overlooked. He became an All-Star starter and was named to All-NBA Third Team after averaging 24 points, six rebounds and 5.5 assists to push Chicago to an eighth seed it didn’t care for early on. The versatile wing was the do-it-all guy for Chicago’s offense, and while he clashed with head coach Fred Hoiberg from time to time, it was evident the Bulls were a lottery team at-best without Butler on the floor. (The Bulls outscored teams by three with Butler in and got outscored by seven with him out.)
In his final season, the argyle-sock connoisseur left Bulls fans with lasting memories.