Maybe the Chicago Bulls weren’t crazy after all

Chicago Bulls (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Chicago Bulls (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /
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Jimmy Butler Chicago Bulls
Chicago Bulls (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

Fans remember the pre-trade emotions and night-of-trade emotions well

Prior to Butler being traded to Minnesota, he seemed to have a falling out with Bulls management. John Paxson and Gar Forman never truly committed to building around Butler as the centerpiece. Why they never believed he could be the centerpiece to a franchise is still a mystery to most fans, but after a certain point, fans knew what was coming.

Then, it happened. Butler was shipped off to the Timberwolves in exchange for:

  • Shooting guard Zach LaVine coming off an ACL tear
  • Point guard Kris Dunn who Minnesota never felt deserved a real shot
  • Rookie no. 7 overall pick Lauri Markkanen — an unknown at that point

It was easy for fans, along with the media, to crucify the Bulls for this move. Even though we knew it was coming, it still felt so wrong. Giving up on your best player, who happened to be a blossoming superstar and one of the top three best two-way players in the game was just such a silly idea.

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Many fans thought the Bulls could have gotten more in return. Who knows what could happen with LaVine? Would he ever come back fully healthy? Is Dunn a bust? Who is this Markkanen guy?

Fans had every right to question the move. It was a big-time decision; a franchise-altering decision. The Bulls were in full-on rebuild mode at that point.