Jimmy Butler trade continues to get worse for the Bulls

Chicago Bulls v Miami Heat
Chicago Bulls v Miami Heat / Megan Briggs/GettyImages

NBA trades can be hard to judge, as what looks good at the time may turn to dust down the road, which is what happened with the Chicago Bulls trade of Jimmy Butler. 

It’s always easier with the gift of hindsight, and at the time, it looked as if the Bulls had gotten a fair return for trading a rising star who most fans wanted to keep in Chicago. 

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But as the trade ages, it looks much worse for the Bulls. 

Lauri Markkanen is a star, but... 

Lauri Markkanen was one of the key pieces the Bulls got in exchange for Jimmy Butler and the good news is that he is officially a star. The bad news is that it’s for another team, as injuries held him back with the Bulls and he never reached his full potential. 

Now he’s a 27-year-old All-Star averaging 24 points per game and the Bulls are left with a big hole where he’s supposed to be. 

Their return for trading Markkanen? Derrick Jones Jr. rounded into a nice role player, unfortunately he also did it for another team, as he is currently starting for the Mavericks in the NBA Finals. 

The Bulls also got a pick from Portland that may never convey, so a key piece of the Butler trade turned into nothing quickly. 

No one wants Zach LaVine, including the Chicago Bulls 

It’s been widely reported that the Bulls have been shopping LaVine and so far, there are no takers for the three years left on his deal. 

The Bulls may have to pay just to give him away, so another centerpiece of the Butler trade is either going to be eating up a huge chunk of the Bulls’ cap space or playing for another team next season. 

LaVine has given Chicago some good years and moments, but they haven’t won much, unlike Jimmy Butler. 

The Bulls also inexplicably gave up the 16th pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, which they probably didn’t have to do considering Minnesota was desperate to land Butler. 

Jimmy Butler is a winner 

Butler has made two All-Star games and three All-NBA teams since being traded from Chicago, but more importantly, he’s led his team to the NBA Finals twice, while the Bulls haven’t sniffed that level since he left. 

Butler is still going strong, likely to get another max extension and can still be one of the best players on a contending team in Miami.

Given that they lost arguably the biggest asset for nothing, and the remaining player is a guy they are trying to give away, I think it’s safe to say the Bulls might handle the Jimmy Butler situation differently if they had to do it over again.