Bulls and Timberwolves blockbuster trade sends Butler to Minnesota

Jimmy Butler will take his skills to Minnesota.

On the NBA Beat

Jimmy Butler will take his skills to Minnesota.

Adam Aaronson, Eastside Staff

For more than a year, Chicago Bulls star Jimmy Butler has been the center of trade rumors, and at the beginning of Thursday night’s NBA Draft, they finally came to fruition. Butler was traded along with the 16th pick to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Kris Dunn, Zach Lavine and the seventh pick. The Bulls selected Arizona seven-footer Lauri Markkanen with pick number seven, and the Timberwolves took Creighton bigman Justin Patton at 16.

This trade indicates the inevitable coming into reality for the Bulls. Finally, Chicago will rebuild. They’ll do so with the aforementioned Dunn, Lavine and Markkanen at the helm, which is concerning for more than one reason. Let’s dissect this trio one by one: Dunn, who is already 23 years old, had a rookie season that was just awful. He didn’t look anything like a top five pick that he was. The Bulls better hope that Dunn is just a late bloomer, and not a bust. As exciting as Zach Lavine can be on a fastbreak or in a dunk contest, his defense is poor to say the least, and he’s coming off of a torn ACL, which is extremely concerning for a player who has a skillset that is so reliant on explosiveness and athleticism. Markkanen, who is seven feet tall and can shoot the lights out from deep, is obviously going to be appealing because of his shooting stroke. But the problem is, he isn’t good at much else. The Bulls made an extremely risky pick at seven on a player who could very well just turn into a shooter.

For the Timberwolves, this is the beginning of a new era of Minnesota basketball. The Wolves are now turning the corner in an attempt to become a team that should be feared now. With the dynamic trio of Butler, Karl Anthony-Towns and Andrew Wiggins, they are primed for their first playoff run in quite some time. Butler, of course, will now be reunited with his former coach, Tom Thibodeau.

Another key impact of this trade for the Timberwolves comes on the defensive side of the ball. Minnesota had tough struggles on defense last season, it’s what prevented them from reaching the postseason last year. Butler is an elite defender who above all else will make their defensive potential much higher.

All in all, Timberwolves fans should be ecstatic with Thursday night’s blockbuster. Bulls fans though, not so much.