Cleat Geeks

Butler Trade: Where Do Bulls Go From Here?

A few days have now passed since the Bulls traded All-Star Jimmy Butler to the Minnesota Timberwolves and there is a GoFundMe Page raising money for a Billboard to protest the front office. Within the fan outrage there is solid backup for being upset. Trading Butler has been talked about for years, and those who thought it would happen were hoping for more value in the return.

Butler has made a name for himself in the NBA becoming one of the the Top 10-15 players in the league. For the past few years the Bulls Front Office have had a lot of rumors surrounding his departure but never admitted to anything. On Thursday they did what many thought they would not do, and finally traded the All-Star. In the first few picks of the NBA Draft the Bulls and Timberwolves pulled off the blockbuster trade. Butler and the rights to the 16th overall pick headed to Minnesota while Kris Dunn, Zach LaVine and the rights to the 7th overall pick headed to Chicago. On paper to an untrained eye this might seem like a good deal for the Bulls, but digging into the trade it might not be as good as it seems.

Starting off, the Bulls traded up 9 picks to draft a PF from Arizona, Lauri Markkanen. It’s a stretch at this pick as Markkanen has limited upside on the defensive side of the ball and needs some work to become a consistent scorer. He is a pick-and-pop big man who needs to develop his 7 foot frame for the post game.

Kris Dunn was the 5th overall pick in last years draft and had very limited success in his first season in the league. In 17.1 MPG he averaged 3.8 PPG, 2.4 APG and 2.1 RPG. He also shot below 30% from beyond the arc. For a team who lacks outside scoring and a “Floor General” now that Butler is gone, this is not a player to be high on in the draft.

Zach LaVine is probably the “gem” player from this trade with the Timberwolves. With a career average of 13.7 PPG, 3.2 APG, and 2.9 RPG the PG is probably suited for more of a SG role with the Bulls. Having torn his ACL this spring he is not going to be ready for the start of the season, and he could miss a majority of it. Bulls fans know all to well players with knee injuries. The Bulls have downplayed the injury and feel LaVine is someone they can build their team around moving forward.


The big takeaways from this trade are the Bulls having to give up the 16th overall pick in this deal. For the value of the return for Butler it is puzzling why they had to give up the pick. If Dunn can rebound in year two it could work out for the Bulls, but the 5th overall pick putting up the low numbers like he did is concerning. LaVine will have to wait and be evaluated in a full season after recovering from the knee injury, so this is a longer term wait it out and see trade. Paxson says the Bulls now have a direction, but it is hard to see what that is after this trade. It seems like they are going young for a rebuild, but they haven’t officially stated that’s the plan.


Only time will tell how this trade worked out for the Bulls, and the fans will have to wait and see how the team performs on the court to make final judgments.

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