Jimmy Butler was dealt from the Bulls to the Timberwolves during the NBA Draft on Thursday – when he was vacationing in Paris.
He finally broke his silence about the trade – which was widely criticized in terms of the Bulls’ return – on Friday in a conversation with the Chicago Sun-Times.
“It’s crazy because there was me talking with guys about Cleveland, then all the outside rumors with Boston, Minnesota, Phoenix, then the feeling that I’m not going anywhere,” Butler told the Sun-Times. “I mean, I had so many people telling me what could possibly happen, but I just got to the point where I stopped paying attention to it.
“It’s crazy because it reminds you of what a business this is. You can’t get mad at anybody. I’m not mad — I’m not. I just don’t like the way some things were handled, but it’s OK.”
Butler also would prefer if everyone would refrain from calling him the “face of the franchise” in Minnesota, where he will be reunited with former Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau.
“It doesn’t mean a damn thing,” Butler told the Sun-Times. “I guess being called the face of an organization isn’t as good as I thought. We all see where being the so-called face of the Chicago Bulls got me. So let me be just a player for the Timberwolves, man. That’s all I want to do. I just want to be winning games, do what I can for my respective organization and let them realize what I’m trying to do.
“Whatever they want to call me . . . face . . . I don’t even want to get into that anymore. Whose team is it? All that means nothing. You know what I’ve learned? Face of the team, eventually you’re going to see the back of his head as he’s leaving town, so no thanks.”
Butler, 27, was a first-round pick (30th overall) by the Bulls in 2011 and had spent his entire six-season career in Chicago prior to the trade. He is a three-time All-Star, a three-time selection for the NBA All-Defensive Second Team and an All-NBA Third Team selection this past season.
He has averaged 15.6 points, 4.8 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.5 steals per game for his career. This past season was his best, with 23.9 points, 6.2 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 1.9 steals per game.
Butler shared this farewell to the fans in Chicago and the franchise on Friday:
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 )