After Jimmy Butler was traded by the Chicago Bulls on Thursday, many pundits penned pieces about how the face of the franchise had once again been dealt away, but the forward was having none of it.
Speaking to the Chicago Sun-Times, Butler blasted the Bulls for lacking loyalty toward players that they consider the “face of the franchise,” and questioned the logic behind affixing that label to anyone.
“It doesn’t mean a damn thing. I guess being called the face of an organization isn’t as good as I thought,” he said. “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.”
Butler was traded to the Timberwolves along with the 16th overall pick in the NBA Draft on Thursday night. In exchange, the Bulls received the 7th pick, Kris Dunn, and Zachary LaVine, and the deal sparked a wave of controversy as fans and writers alike questioned whether Butler was treated fairly.
Butler’s own trainer weighed in on the controversy, saying that there were “drug dealers with better morals” than Bulls G.M. Gar Forman, and team president John Paxson fired back, calling those accusations “unprofessional.”
“I completely disagree when someone takes a shot like that. It’s not right. It’s unprofessional, and he shouldn’t have done it,” he said. “I’ve worked with Gar a long time and it’s an unfair characterization.”
Whatever the case, Butler was still miffed that the Bulls traded him away after investing so much in him, and he’s just the latest player to be shown the door by the front office. Point guard Derrick Rose was also traded away by the team after the 2015-16 season, and the organization’s handling of his departure was also met with criticism.
Butler refused to accept the mantel as a “face of the franchise” for the Timberwolves now that he’s been traded, and says that he’s focused on just playing basketball instead of whatever labels are placed on him.
“Whatever they want to call me, I don’t even want to get into that anymore,” he said. “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.”