A potential new ‘Big Three’ could be forming in Minnesota.
The Chicago Bulls have traded three time All-Star Guard Jimmy Butler and the 16th draft pick to Minnesota, in exchange for Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn and the seventh pick.
The Bulls used this pick to select seven-foot Finn, Lauri Makkanen. The Timberwolves used their pick to select Justin Patton.
The trade sees Butler reunited with former coach Tom Thibodeau, who coached Butler for four years in Chicago, before being fired in 2015. Despite clashing at times, Butler and Thibodeau had a fruitful period during their time in Chicago. Thibodeau could be credited with transforming Butler from role player and a ‘Sixth Man’, to out and out star.
Under his tenure, Jimmy Butler won Most Improved Player, became a two time All-Star and also featured on the NBA All Defensive Second Team. Butler has continued to improve since ‘Thib’s’ departure. Last season, he averaged career highs in points (23.9), rebounds (6.2) and assists (5.5). He is also one of the league’s top defenders, an absolute necessity for a young team that finished 26th in the league in defensive efficiency last season. He will turn 28 in September, right in the middle of his prime for a team in need of veteran leadership.
The trade will also see the guard link up with hot prospects Karl Anthony-Towns (21) and Andrew Wiggins (22). The two former number one picks did not enjoy great success last season and finished with a 31-51 record. The addition of Butler could help them make the playoffs, in a stacked Western Conference.
The Bulls’ side
For the Bulls, they have gained Zach LaVine, who was averaging a career high in points (18.9) before an ACL injury ended his season. He has also lit up the NBA Dunk Contest in recent years.
They also acquired last year’s number five pick in the draft, Kris Dunn. Dunn was a highly touted point guard who had an underwhelming first season in the NBA. The Bulls will be hoping he can on promise shown at college level.
Noel Ryan, Pundit Arena