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Vikings players welcome Jimmy Butler to Minnesota

24 June 2017

It can also be recalled that Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical recently tweeted: "Sources: Chicago's price for Jimmy Butler remains elevated, but Minnesota has assets and interest".

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).

While Butler may be happy about a change of scenery and reunion with former Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau, the trade may have an vast impact on his future earnings. Butler gives Thibodeau the tough-minded scorer and hard-nosed defender that he has been searching for to complement a promising young core. They were among the youngest teams in the league last season, cast as a team that could be a force once all of their pups grew up.

If the Bulls waive Rondo by June 30, they only have to eat $3 million of the $13.4 million contract he is owed for next season.

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Markkanen was named the Oscar Robertson National Player of the Week in late January after averaging 20.5 points and 7.5 rebounds per game during a weekend sweep of USC and UCLA.

But he also acknowledged that his appreciation for Thibodeau's hard-driving style increased as time went on, especially when the Bulls struggled in their first season under the more player-friendly Fred Hoiberg. The combination of Butler, Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns will shoot Minnesota into the postseason without a doubt.

The thing about Markkanen, the top-rated global player in this draft out of Finland, is that he's a legitimate 7'0, and as such he did average 7.0 rebounds a game at Arizona a year ago.

Chicago ranked 23rd in scoring and 24th in 3-point accuracy last season. During his prep years for the pro, he averaged 15.6 points and 7.2 rebounds each game.

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Butler, who turns 28 in September, was a third-team, All-NBA pick this year.

There were two paths for the Bulls this offseason: 1) try to fill out their roster and make another push to a top-four spot in the East in an eventual futile attempt to contend against the best in the conference, or 2) trade their best player - Butler - and turn the roster over with a youth movement. These rumors were followed up by the news that Cavaliers' players reached out to Butler, encouraging him to avoid coming to Cleveland as there are many internal issues stemming from the firing of General Manager David Griffin.

When Thibodeau was hired as team president and coach last summer, he quickly set his sights on bringing Butler to Minnesota. They did that through their trade with the Timberwolves, adding the league's best dunker in Zach LaVine as well as Kris Dunn, both of whom are in their early 20s.

The 7 pick in the draft will be going to the Bulls because of the deal. It's truly a new day for Chicago Bulls basketball and one that's going to take some getting used to for fans, reporters and the franchise itself.

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Vikings players welcome Jimmy Butler to Minnesota