The only notable former Chicago Bulls player competing in the NBA All-Star Game, SF Jimmy Butler, got a nice welcome in his United Center return.
Really the only former Chicago Bulls star player of the last four years that was relevant in playing in the 2020 NBA All-Star Game, hosted at the United Center, was small forward Jimmy Butler. The United Center was sparse with any positive Bulls news or notes during All-Star Weekend, but Butler and fellow former Bulls star Derrick Rose both have good things to say about the city during media availability over the weekend.
Any and all Bulls fans present at the United Center during All-Star Weekend surely liked Butler’s presence in this year’s All-Star Game. He reportedly got a raucous reaction when he was first announced.
This is a good sign to see Bulls fans taking such a positive approach to welcoming Butler back to the United Center, where he starred with this franchise for six years.
Butler has now played for three teams since he was originally traded from the Bulls back during the 2017 offseason. The Bulls originally traded him to the Minnesota Timberwolves for a return that included shooting guard Zach LaVine, power forward Lauri Markkanen, and point guard Kris Dunn. But that trade didn’t workout as planned for either side.
After his brief stint with the Timberwolves was over, “Jimmy G. Buckets” made his way to try and help the Philadelphia 76ers in a playoff run last year. Butler’s stint with the Sixers was even shorter than that with former Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau and the Timberwolves.
A place that Butler seems like he can make work now is in South Beach, with head coach Erik Spoelstra and the Miami Heat. The Heat look committed to pulling out all of the stops to get Butler help and make their case as a dark horse title contender.
At least the Heat could have a shot at making the NBA Finals if they take on the role that the Toronto Raptors did last year to unseat the reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks. The Bucks are very likely to take the one-seed for the playoffs in the Eastern Conference.
Butler is a large reason why the Heat are dark horse title contenders in the first place this year. He’s averaging 20.6 points per game, 6.8 rebounds, and 6.1 assists, while shooting 45.7 percent from the field and 24.8 percent from beyond the arc.
There were a lot of hard feelings when Butler first left the Windy City. But the Tomball, TX, native is also reportedly keeping an open mind to a potential return to the Bulls one day. He is signed for three more years to his current contract with the Heat, so that likely wouldn’t happen anytime soon.
Butler played for Team Giannis against Team LeBron in the All-Star Game. He was a reserve for Team Giannis. And he was the only former Bulls player to be taking part in the All-Star Game itself this weekend.