Bulls trade Butler to Timberwolves

Bulls trade Butler to Timberwolves

Bulls trade Butler to Timberwolves

This time, it's a three-time All-Star in his prime in Butler leaving to play for his old coach in Tom Thibodeau in Minnesota while Chicago changes its direction.

It remains unclear what Jimmy Butler thinks about being traded by the Chicago Bulls, but one member of his inner circle doesn't seem sorry to see him go.

Lauri Markkanen reacts after being selected by the Minnesota Timberwolves as the seventh pick overall during the NBA basketball draft, Thursday, June 22, 2017, in NY.

Chicago and Minnesota discussed a deal previous year on draft night that involved Butler, LaVine and Dunn. Dunn, however, is coming off a rookie season in which he went through some growing pains, while LaVine is coming off a torn ACL.

That was likely the goal, as Minnesota moved from a slow, quality rebuild to a team that could be a legitimate threat in the Western Conference next season. It's also a sign that they're trying to give Hoiberg a roster that fits his pace-and-space offence, something they did not do in his first two seasons.

Dunn was Minnesota's first-round pick last season and averaged 3.8 points on 37.7 percent shooting in 78 games.

A 7-footer from Finland, Markkanen gives the Bulls a shooter they lacked last season.

The addition of Markkanen - a scoring force on the perimeter and in the post for Arizona - raises questions about the future of Nikola Mirotic, though Paxson said the Bulls intend to bring him back.

LaVine, a two-time slam dunk champion, averaged 18.3 points in 47 games last season.

LaVine was having a breakout third season in the league when he tore the ACL in his left knee in February.

The Butler news took many by surprise, and Bulls fans weren't happy with what they got in return.

Defense is where Butler may make his biggest immediate impact in Minnesota.

Markkanen, who played only one year in Tucson, was expected to be a top-10 pick after his record-breaking season. 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. Adding to the difficulty was Dunn's underwelming first year in Minnesota, which diminished his trade value as well, even in the eyes of the point guard-needy Bulls. That drew a pointed response from Rajon Rondo and fines for all three veterans.

Dwyane Wade recently opted-in to another year on his contract with Chicago and will split minutes at shooting guard with LaVine.

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