Jimmy Butler's relationship with the Chicago Bulls is well documented. Despite a sharp break, recent events cause the repair of an old bond.
Few players in the post-Jordan fell in love with Chicago Bulls fans just like Jimmy Butler. In six seasons with the Bulls, Butler switched from a headlander to one of the best players in the league, earning the nickname "Jimmy Buckets".
At that time, Butler won the Most Improved Player award, was selected for the All-Star game and the All-Defensive Team three times each, and was also named in the All-NBA team in 2017 along with players like John Wall and Draymond Green .
You can imagine, therefore, the reaction evoked by the fans when Butler was seen dining with the Chicago Bulls coach Jim Boylen. It was only a matter of time before the imaginations began to unleash.
On the surface, it may not seem like a big deal. It's just a dinner. However, when considering Butler's relationship with Boylen, he could suggest the possibility of a meeting in Chicago.
Butler and the feud between Bulls' former coach, Fred Hoiberg, was the center of Chicago's locker room episodes before the successful trade that brought LaVine, Markkanen and Dunn to the Windy City. Butler and Dwayne Wade also had major problems with the apparent work ethic and culture of younger players on the roster.
Fred Hoiberg has returned to coaching college basketball. Bobby Portis, Nikola Mirotic, Doug McDermott and Jerian Grant have been assigned to other teams. The rest of the Bulls team is barely on the run or out of the league. Only Robin Lopez, Denzel Valentine and Cris Felicio remained with the Bulls from the 2016-17 campaign.
A total return to service and a coach who drives a competitive culture that strangely recalls Tom Thibodeau is Exactly what Jimmy wanted. In retrospect, it now makes much more sense that Butler claimed Boylen's assumption in the wake of the media reaction after Hoiberg received his documents.
"I really enjoyed playing with Jimmy … You like playing with dogs like that. I found it very funny. He's always trying to make the right game. He always has his back. I really appreciate it." -Robin Lopez
Having entered the league late, Butler's slow start would have been to please the Bulls chronology. With only 523 games within his reach, it is likely that Butler is still a very good player even four or five years down the road. With 55 playoff experience games and a long list of NBA awards and successes, it could be exactly what young bulls need to challenge.
From a financial point of view, some ropes should be pulled to make room for Butler, but the Bulls have enough financial flexibility to pursue it in various ways. With about $ 22 million in free agency room, treat Otto Porter or a combination of Kris Dunn, Cris Felicio and / or the seventh selection of this year's draft should be in place to offer Jimmy a competitive deal .
Although it may seem like a heavy price to pay, the Bulls could keep their core constituents while adding a legitimate first 15 league player. With Butler, Chicago could return to the playoffs as early as next year is stay there for years to come with the valuable leadership and expertise of the locker rooms on which he would focus on the developing core.