Chicago Bulls forward Jimmy Butler grew up in Tomball, Texas and played college basketball at Tyler Junior College and Marquette University. Although Jimmy is receiving a ton of praise from the media based on his play this past NBA season, it was a tough road to the pros for the fifth-year player, and his life didn’t start out with the success that he’s experienced this year.
Butler’s father abandoned him as an infant, and by the time he was 13 years old his mother kicked him out of the house. Jimmy moved from home to home, living with friends in the Houston suburbs. In a summer basketball league before his senior year at Tomball High School, he was noticed by Jordan Leslie, a freshman football and basketball player at the school, who challenged him to a 3-point shooting contest.
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Jimmy and Leslie would become great friends, and Leslie’s family accepted him as one of their own. From early childhood struggles to NBA struggles, Butler’s life has been a fight all the way through.
Jimmy will be more than wanted this offseason, and it would be in the Bulls’ best interest to re-sign him. One of the latest reports from the Chicago Sun Times is that Mark Wahlberg is recruiting Butler to the Boston Celtics. Wahlberg is a friend of Jimmy’s dating back to 2013, when Wahlberg was filming a Transformers movie in Chicago and the two played a game of one-on-one.
This past season Butler averaged a team-high 22.9 points per game and 2.4 steals per game during the NBA Playoffs. Jimmy’s year was also highlighted by his first All-Star selection and becoming the NBA’s Most Improved Player. This year showed a vast improvement, as he averaged just 13.1 points per game last regular season. Not bad for a 30th pick in the first round of the 2011 NBA Draft.
One of several teams that are expected to be interested in a maximum-salary offer sheet for Butler according to RealGM.com is the Los Angeles Lakers. I don’t see any reason why he would leave a playoff team that was two wins away from the Eastern Conference Finals to join a Lakers team that missed the playoffs last season, has an aging Kobe Bryant who has stated next year will be his last season, and isn’t expected to make any additions to their roster that will make them a playoff contender next year.
When you look at it from that perspective, the chances of Butler joining the Lakers appear doubtful. According to NBCSports.com, the Bulls front office plans to offer Jimmy a max contract and will match any offer for Butler. They failed to sign a contract extension with him before last season’s October 31st deadline. He was offered $40 million for four years, but he did not accept the offer.
David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune stated that the Bulls plan to take a proactive approach, and Chicago fully expects to sign Butler to a max deal before any team offers him a contract in July. On a recent episode of SportsNation on ESPN, when asked if he wants to return to the Bulls, Butler replied “I think so, I like it there, they gave me a chance coming out of Marquette. I have a lot of love for there, I really do.”
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