Returning to Chicago during the All-Star weekend, Jimmy Butler suggested he’s open to returning to the Chicago Bulls. It might not be in the near future, but towards the end of Butler’s NBA career. Butler returns to Chicago as an All-star for Team Giannis.
Would you ever want to come back and play in Chicago?
Jimmy Butler: “Yeah, of course. Like, come on. This is Chicago. This is home for me for a long time, still is home for me now. It’s a definite possibility – maybe toward the end of my career. Who knows?"
— Cody Westerlund (@CodyWesterlund) February 15, 2020
Butler played for the Chicago Bulls for the first six seasons of his NBA career. After a fringe rookie, he gradually worked his way up to becoming one of the top two-way players in the NBA today. After leaving the Bulls, Butler has played for the Minnesota Timberwolves, Philadelphia 76ers before signing for the Miami Heat in the summer of 2019.
Jimmy Butler and his career with the Chicago Bulls
Jimmy Butler joined the Chicago Bulls with the 30th pick of the 2011 NBA draft. It represents a talented draft class with the likes of Kyrie Irving, Klay Thompson among others being drafted that year. During his first couple of seasons with the team, he saw limited minutes and productivity.
By the 2013-14 season, he established himself as a starter for the team.
By the 2014-15 season, he was on his way to stardom. He was selected to his first all-star team and won the Most Improved Player in the NBA that season. His ascent continued as he continued to increase his production. He averaged 21.7 points, 5.8 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 1.8 steals a game during the last three seasons he spent with the Bulls.
Also, Butler was a 3x All-star, 1x All-NBA, 3x All-NBA Defensive team member.
In summer of 2017, the Bulls traded Butler to the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Bulls were on the path to rebuild, which differed from his career expectations. Butler teamed up with former Bulls head coach, Tom Thibodeau.
Butler’s time away from the Bulls
Butler endured mix fortunes during his time away from the Bulls. Initially, he played a key role in leading the Timberwolves into the playoffs during the 2017-18 season. However, his relationship with the team and Timberwolves roster deteriorated.
After just a season, he requested a trade from the team and sat out a few games during the 2018-19 season. The Timberwolves subsequently traded him to the Philadelphia 76ers. Here the team endured a greater degree of success. The 76ers and Butler finished 3rd in the Eastern Conference.
After comfortably brushing past the Brooklyn Nets in round 1, Butler and the 76ers came up against the Kawhi Leonard led Toronto Raptors. In a tight series which came down to a last-second shot in game 7, the Raptors emerged as victors of the series.
As a free agent, Butler signed with the Miami Heat as a part of a sign and trade. This season, he’s been the undisputed leader of a surprising Miami roster. He’s averaging 20.8 points, 6.8 rebounds and 6.1 assists a game. The latter two are career highs. Miami currently sit 4th in the Eastern Conference with a 35-19 record.
He’s openly expressed his satisfaction with the Heat, which could emerge as a surprise contender for a deep playoff run this season.
Jimmy Butler and his relationship with the Chicago Bulls
Despite being traded away from the Bulls, Jimmy Butler has warm feelings towards his former team. The feelings are reciprocated by the fans of the Bulls. He maintains he keeps abreast with the news and happenings of the Bulls.
Speaking on the love between the city and Butler,
“I got a lot of love for this city, and I’m so fortunate that this city still has a lot of love for me.”
Despite his happiness with the Heat, Butler has expressed an interest in returning to the Bulls. Possibly towards the end of his career.
“It’s a definite possibility – maybe toward the end of my career. Who knows? We’ll find out when that time gets here.”
Butler will turn 31 this year. He is still in the prime of his career, while the Bulls are continuing to rebuild. It might be a few more years till Butler can possibly engineer a move back to the franchise that drafted him. Perhaps by then, the Bulls may be a contender, needing veteran leadership to help.
It remains speculation. However, Jimmy Butler will be welcomed back by the Bulls if such a move happens in the future.
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