Jimmy Butler’s uniform has changed, but his exit story from the Bulls last month continued to stay the same.
Appearing on “The Bill Simmons Podcast,’’ Butler confirmed a Sun-Times story that when he left a June meeting with general manager Gar Forman and VP of basketball operations John Paxson, he did so feeling like he was going to stay a Bull.
“I thought I was going to be there so I’m not going to say word for word what they said, but when I left there I did think I was going to be there,’’ Butler said. “But like I said, it’s a business and it is what it is.
“I said [to them in the meeting] we were OK. I said a lot of things about the future that if I could control it I would do this, but I can’t.
“I have nothing against anybody on that team, anybody in that organization, but they were so stuck on not building around me, but maybe building with me as they would say or going young. A rebuild. So it was one or the other. I just wanted to know. Was it clear when I left that meeting what we were going to do? No. Maybe I was told some things that I took as, ‘You might be here.’ ‘’
Butler was traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves on draft night, with Gar/Pax acquiring the backcourt of the future in Kris Dunn and Zach LaVine, as well as a swapping of first-round draft picks that led to Lauri Markkanen also joining the Bulls.
A week later, the Sun-Times reported that a source close to the situation said that Forman not only lied to Butler in the days leading up to the draft-night deal, but also even minutes before the deal was completed with Minnesota.
“[Forman] knows what he said,’’ the source said. “Flat-out lied. That’s just who he is. Travelle [Gaines] hit it on the head.’’
The Gaines reference was in regards to a tweet that Gaines – who has been Butler’s trainer – sent out minutes after the trade was announced that 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.’’
Forman was asked about the allegations that he lied to Butler and his representation and said in a text, “Absolutely false! Never talked to Jimmy again after John and I had our meeting with him several weeks prior to the draft.’’
Butler said in the podcast that he asked Gar/Pax what they were planning to do with the roster, but never got a concrete answer.
“I don’t know if they really knew what they wanted to do until something was presented to them that was, ‘OK yeah, we gotta take this [trade], we gotta go that way.’ ‘’ Butler said. “You know you’re .500. You’re not a bad team, you’re not a good team, what are you going to do? I don’t blame them for it.’’
Simmons asked Butler about the idea that if NBA teams aren’t building for a title or tanking for a lottery pick, what are they, and Butler responded, “I don’t know, irrelevant? Is that the word? Hell, I think everybody should want to win a championship and maybe it won’t be this year, maybe it won’t be next, but you gotta plan for the future as people say. I don’t really do that. The future ain’t too promised for nobody.’’