Butler: Bulls took Hoiberg over me
It sounds like Jimmy Butler isn’t ready to move on from the Bulls.
During an interview with ESPN’s Sam Alipour on a lake in Minnesota, the Timberwolves guard was asked why the Bulls would trade their best, hardestworking player in his prime.
“I probably went about a lot of things the wrong way,” Butler said. “People don’t work as hard as I do and don’t expect the same things out of the game that I do. And that’s my fault, and I’ve learned from that. I said from the beginning — it was either going to be me or the Fred Hoiberg route. And rightfully so, they took Fred. Good for them. I’ve got that game marked on my calendar — Feb. 9, baby, I’m back.”
Butler had a run- in with Hoiberg in December 2015, when he famously called him out for being soft on his players.
Butler was traded on draft night in June and was reunited with his old Bulls coach, Tom Thibodeau, in Minnesota. A few days after the trade, Butler let loose on the Bulls’ organization, telling the Sun- Times:
“I guess being called the face of an organization isn’t as good as I thought. We all see where being the so- called face of the Chicago Bulls got me. So let me be just a player for the Timberwolves, man. That’s all I want to do. I just want to be winning games, do what I can for my respective organization and let them realize what I’m trying to do.
“Whatever they want to call me . . . face . . . I don’t even want to get into that anymore. Whose team is it? All that means nothing. You know what I’ve learned? Face of the team, eventually you’re going to see the back of his head as he’s leaving town, so no thanks.”
Winning games, he is. Though Butler is having his worst season statistically since 2013- 14, the Timberwolves were 7- 1 in the eight games he played in going into Wednesday. Butler sat out two games with an upperrespiratory illness, and the Timberwolves lost both. He was averaging 15.1 points after scoring 20- plus for three seasons with the Bulls.
“I’ve got that game marked on my calendar — Feb. 9, baby, I’m back.” — Jimmy Butler, on his first game back at the United Center with the Timberwolves