garbutler.jpg

Chicago Bulls Executive Gar Forman at a press conference to introduce new team members Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn and Lauri Markkanen, Tuesday, June 27th, 2017. | James Foster/For the Sun-Times

Source: Bulls GM Gar Forman misled Jimmy Butler before trade

SHARE Source: Bulls GM Gar Forman misled Jimmy Butler before trade
SHARE Source: Bulls GM Gar Forman misled Jimmy Butler before trade

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. — For a week, Jimmy Butler has sat back and listened to the criticism. Former NBA All-Star Antoine Walker called him “a bad locker-room guy.” Local TV personalities said he’s not the kind of guy you build around. Others noted how “Hollywood” he became in recent seasons.

On Thursday, the former Bulls All-Star had an answer for all of it.

“It’s not frustrating,’” Butler said, meeting the Minnesota media for the first time since the Bulls traded him to the Timberwolves last week. “It’s expected. Somebody’s gotta take the blame. I’ll be that guy — I’m OK with it. Everybody is entitled to their opinion, but with that being said, my phone is in my back pocket right now. If whoever has anything to say to me, feel free . . . 773-899-6071. So if you want an interview, there you have it. Please do. Remember that.”

One person who won’t likely be calling Butler anytime soon is Bulls general manager Gar Forman. After the trade last week, Forman said on two occasions that Butler had been kept informed of what was going on leading up to it and that he never lied to Butler or his representatives.

However, a source close to the situation told the Sun-Times on Thursday that Forman’s version of events doesn’t match what happened in the days — and even the minutes — leading up to the draft-night deal.

“[Forman] knows what he said,” the source said. “That’s just who he is. Travelle [Gaines] hit it on the head.”

Gaines, who has been Butler’s trainer, sent out a tweet minutes after the trade was announced. It read, “0-82. Worst culture in the league. I met drug dealers with better morals then their GM. He is a liar and everyone knows.”

Reached for comment Thursday, Forman said in a text message, “Absolutely false! Never talked with Jimmy again after John [Paxson] and I had our meeting with him several weeks prior to the draft.”

Given the chance Thursday to comment, Butler took the high road.

“I already said how much love I have for the city of Chicago,” he said. “I don’t have anything to say about anybody in that organization, in that city. They took a chance on a kid from Tomball, [Texas], who didn’t know where he belonged. But now this new chapter, this new era, I’m looking forward to it.”

Timberwolves coach Tom Thibo-deau — Butler’s coach with the Bulls before his own ugly break-up with Forman and Paxson — stepped in.

“Jimmy knows this: Whether it’s praise or criticism, to treat it the same,” Thibodeau said. “The only thing that really matters is what we think, and we think he’s a great player and a great addition.

“For the most part, our experience [in Chicago] was great. We won a lot of games together. Jimmy achieved greatness there. We’re not going to get lost in any sideshows or distractions.”

Follow me on Twitter @suntimes_hoops.

Email: jcowley@suntimes.com

RELATED STORIES

Bulls’ Michael Reinsdorf defends Jimmy Butler, wants criticism to stop

Give hope — and three new Bulls players — a chance


The Latest
A local man opened fire at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, about 85 miles west of San Antonio.
It was a bleak picture painted by the half of the GOP primary field — venture capitalist Jesse Sullivan, businessman Gary Rabine and state Sen. Darren Dailey — who squared off during a live debate hosted by WGN-TV.
Candace Parker led the way with 16 points, six rebounds, seven assists, three blocks and three steals.
During a rapid-fire “yes or no,” segment, Max Solomon and Paul Schimpf agreed that the events at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021 were not an “insurrection.” But Richard Irvin touted his credentials as a lawyer and said, “I don’t think it’s a ‘yes or no’ question.”