Even with the NBA Draft last night, the biggest move of the night was the young Minnesota Timberwolves acquiring Jimmy Butler from the Chicago Bulls. Butler has been in an awkward situation with the Bulls for some time now and was an obvious trade candidate but many, including NBA TV’s Jared Greenberg, were critical of the return the Bulls received for a star like Butler. He went on The DA Show to talk about his evaluation of the trade.
“I don’t know that you need to trade Jimmy Butler. This reeks of James Harden being traded from Oklahoma City,” he said. “Fine if you’re not going to pay him, fine if you’re ultimately going to trade him but the knee-jerk reaction to do it when you did it, you have to have the position that in five years from now, you’re going to willingly admit that Lauri Markkanen is the guy you would’ve picked first if you had that pick in the draft last night. That’s how much you had to have loved him to do that. To give up a pick and the guy in Josh Patton who might ultimately go down as the best center in this draft and to give up Jimmy Butler to the guy who coached your team that you fired and said ‘wasn’t good enough with the talent you had that you felt was NBA Finals’ worthy,’ it just reeks of having to explain yourself year after year for the next decade.”
Greenberg was alluding to the fact that former Chicago coach Tom Thibodeau is now the current Head Coach and Director of Basketball Operations in Minnesota. He was the person who executed this deal on the Wolves’ side and took advantage of his former club to acquire his former player. Since his departure from the organization, the Bulls have let go of their tough-nosed core that consisted of Butler, Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, Luol Deng and Taj Gibson, to name a few. The organization has show an inconsistency with their plans for the future of the franchise and Greenberg chimed in on that.
“To say last night ‘oh, now we have a direction.’ Which is what? Yeah, you’ve gotten over time now three lottery picks but what does that mean?” Greenberg continued on to speak about the importance of acquiring draft picks rather than players. “In Boston, the philosophy is draft picks are easier to trade than guys you’ve drafted which is very true in the NBA, especially in the new NBA where the new CBA is going to kick in here in days. The fact is, it’s easier and there’s more value. It’s like a car, once you drive it off the lot, the value decreases tenfold. For the Bulls, they keep on drafting these guys and missing, nonstop. They keep on missing and once you get them, you can’t trade them. Think about the last two big trades the Bulls have made, the best players they’ve gotten back are Cameron Payne and Zach LaVine. They’ve given up Jimmy Butler, Doug McDermott, Taj Gibson and potentially the guy who many feel could be the best center in this draft in Josh Patton.”
One final question looms for Chicago in this offseason as they’ll look to figure out what to do with Dwyane Wade and Rajon Rondo – two veteran players who likely have very little interest in playing for the Bulls. Wade has opted-into his contract and Rondo has another year on his.
“Dwyane Wade is going to be really frustrated with this team,” he said. “If he didn’t like how the young players performed last year, how’s he going to feel this year? In terms of Rondo, it doesn’t make sense to have Rondo there. It doesn’t. They continue to show us they have no plan.”