Jimmy Butler on Bulls future: ‘Who knows what’s ahead?’
Subscribe for unlimited digital access.
Try one month for $1!
Subscribe for unlimited digital access. Try one month for $1!
NEW ORLEANS — Happy with the honor of starting, Bulls forward Jimmy Butler played a bit part in the All-Star Game, then turned his attention to an upcoming vacation, the stretch run and subtly acknowledged the possibility that he might not be a Bull when the season resumes Friday.
“Score some points, get some assists, some rebounds, steals, defense — I guess what I’ve been doing the first half of the season,” he said when asked what he wants to do in the final 25 games.
“Who knows? Who knows what’s ahead? I never know what tomorrow brings. I’ll just lay down, dream and hopefully wake up the next day.”
The trade deadline is Thursday, but Butler said he is not concerned.
“I don’t know,” he said. “Am I anxious for it? Come on, man. I ain’t worried about that. It doesn’t bother me or scare me. I’ll be OK.”
Isn’t it human nature that a player would be concerned about being traded?
“Not for me,” Butler said. “Not saying I’m untradeable. But I don’t think about that. If I’m not in a Bulls uniform, man, I’ll give you a hug and say goodbye to you.”
But he knows that no matter what happens, he’ll still be Jimmy Butler — and perhaps on a team with a better chance to win a championship than the Bulls, who are seeded seventh in the Eastern Conference and not considered a threat to get past the first or second round.
“I hope I’m not going to get traded, but I don’t know,” Butler said. “I don’t control that. I control what I can control, like going on vacation.”
Butler at least earned his vacation with a stellar first half, earning him a trip to All-Star weekend. Though starting in the game was the ultimate honor, Butler was a little out of his element in a ragtag game that was not much more than a halftime show of NBA-level circus feats.
Butler played just 19 minutes, took four of the East’s 137 shots and scored six points in the West’s 192-182 victory.
“I take a back seat to all of that. It’s an honor to be here. But I want to go out and compete. That’s what I do,” Butler said. “I’m not disappointed. This is an all-star game. It is what it is. I just wanted to get up and down and get my legs moving and go on vacation.”
Chicagoan Anthony Davis scored an All-Star Game record 52 points on 26-for-39 shooting to win MVP honors. Two-time MVP Russell Westbrook added 41 for the West. The Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo led the East with 30 points on 14-for-17 shooting. As those statistics indicate, this was a game that featured virtually no defense and players interested in entertaining rather than competing.
Not the kind of game for players like Butler and the Spurs’ Kawhi Leonard — a Butler-like player who took just four of the West’s 143 shots in 15 minutes. Butler drove the baseline for a dunk in the first quarter and hit two jump shots for his six points — equalling his All-Star high he set in 2015 at Madison Square Garden.
“Six? I should have gone for eight,” he said, clearly joking. “I don’t worry about All-Star Games.”
Butler will be back in his element when the regular season resumes Friday. The only question is where he will be.
Follow me on Twitter @MarkPotash.