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Bulls Fans Are (Rightfully) Crying Buckets After 'Grade F' Jimmy Butler Trade

By Stephen Gossett in Arts & Entertainment on Jun 23, 2017 2:30PM

Jimmy Butler / Getty Images / Photo: Kevin C. Cox

The fact that the Bulls traded fan-favorite Jimmy Butler, ushering in the long-discussed rebuild, ahead of Thursday night's draft wasn't surprising, but fans and pro-basketball watchers are still trying to hoist their jaws up off the floor at the meager return that Bulls GM Gar Forman "landed." Now that the Jimmy Buckets era is over, we're even seeing some stern clapback from at least one person within the Butler camp (we'll get back to that in a minute).

The so-called blockbuster saw the Bulls send Butler, a three-time All Star, and their 16th pick (which became Justin Patton) to the Minnesota Timberwolves for a bag of spare parts and a no-sure-bet prospect (injury-hobbled Zach LaVine, the iffy-shooting Kris Dunn and still-green Lauri Markkanen, the seventh overall pick). Markkanen can shoot, the experts, say. He was the best shooter available in the draft, we've been reassured. But that's the most silvery lining you'll find.

Haley O'Shaughnessy of the Ringer wrote, in a post titled "Minnesota Just Stole Jimmy Butler From Chicago:

"[Chicago] exchanged its best talent for Markkanen, an unproven sophomore point guard in Dunn, and an athletic off-guard in LaVine who, even with his legitimate, robust potential, is coming off an ACL injury."

Closer to home, Stephen Noh, of The Athletic Chicago, gave the trade a big, fat F grade—"and that's being generous." The only bright side is that they'll be so bad they'll be well-positioned to grab a future star next year, which seems to be the best rationale behind the deal:

"The Bulls stated that they would only trade Butler if they were given an overwhelming offer. That was the right philosophy to use, and one has to wonder why they strayed from that sound strategy... The only redeeming feature of this trade is how bad the Bulls have made themselves. With Butler off the floor, they played like a 20-win team last season. There's a good chance that the Bulls could draft a stud next year, and early returns have that class looking promising up top. That's about the only hope that fans have to look forward to for now."

And he was far from the only sharp basketball watcher to give the trade a failing grade:

And so the wound-licking commenced...

As Deadspin points out even Jimmy Butler's trainer let loose, squarely on Bulls management. "I met drug dealers with better morals then their GM," wrote Travelle Gaines. Ouch.

Joining the White Sox and the Bears, the Bulls are now the third pro team in Chicago currently in rebuild mode—assuming the Bears can still admit as much. If this first salvo is any indication, it'll be a rough road back up.