Chicago Bulls star Jimmy Butler has been the subject of trade rumors and free agency talk a lot over the past few years, and on Jimmy Kimmel’s talk show Thursday night, he addressed that speculation.
When Butler was asked why he would want to stay in Chicago instead of going to another team, specifically the Los Angeles Lakers, the guard quickly kiboshed the rumors and said he was happy with the Bulls.
“Because I love Chicago so very much,” he said. “They took a chance on me in 2011 with the 30th pick, so I’m forever grateful to them for that.”
The Bulls have been grateful for the selection as well, as Butler has blossomed into one of the top players in the NBA. Paired up with Dwyane Wade, Butler had another dominant season last year, averaging 23.9 points and 6.2 rebounds per game as he made yet another All-Star Game appearance for the team.
Even though he’s happy in Chicago, Butler said it can still be a challenge to continuously hear trade rumors when he’s on the West Coast.
“It’s hard not to pay attention to it,” he said. “Everywhere I go, especially here in LA, everyone’s like ‘he’s coming to the Lakers! He’s in LA,” he said.
During the interview, Kimmel told Butler that he felt like he should stay in Chicago, but Butler teased the host a bit by insinuating that Kimmel was insulting him with his advice.
“I feel like you insulted me by saying that you’re a Lakers fan and saying you don’t want me,” Butler said. “I’m not good enough to play on the Lakers?”