The Chicago Bulls has traded three-time All-Star Jimmy Butler to the Minnesota Timberwolves in a deal that involves two other players and a couple draft picks.
Two people with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press that Butler and the 16th overall pick will be in Minnesota’s possession in exchange for Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn, and the No. 7 overall pick. The people spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal, first reported by the Chicago Tribune, had not been officially announced.
The trade brings together Butler and Wolves coach and president Thibodeau, who coached the Bulls for five seasons before being fired in 2015. Butler gives Thibodeau the tough-minded scorer and hard-nosed defender that he has been searching for to complement a promising young core.
The Wolves paid a big price: Besides surrendering the lottery pick, they gave up a rising star in LaVine, who is coming off of a torn ACL and Dunn, last year’s No. 5 overall pick.
Butler played for Thibodeau for four seasons in Chicago, developing from an unheralded, late-first round draft pick into a perennial All-Star. The two strong-willed workaholics clashed on occasion during their time together and Butler said during the Olympics in Rio last summer that it was “love-hate” relationship.
But he also acknowledged that his appreciation for Thibodeau’s hard-driving style increased as time went on, especially when the Bulls struggled in their first season under the more player-friendly Fred Hoiberg. And according to a person with knowledge of the situation, Butler welcomes the move to Minnesota to join his old coach and a team loaded with young talent in Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins.
The Wolves drafted Arizona sharpshooter Lauri Markkanen for the Bulls at No. 7 and the Bulls took Creighton forward Justin Patton at No. 16 for the Wolves. Patton is a 6-foot-11 forward who was the Big East freshman of the year after averaging 12.9 points and 6.1 rebounds last season.