The Minnesota Timberwolves entered the 2017-18 NBA season with the goal of winning an NBA championship title. The arrival of Jimmy Butler, Taj Gibson, and Jeff Teague in Minnesota to team up with Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns was expected to make the Timberwolves a legitimate contender in the Western Conference. However, things didn’t go as expected as they suffered a first-round elimination in the hands of the West No. 1 seed, Houston Rockets.
In an interview with Joe Cowley of Chicago Sun-Times, Jimmy Butler discussed how the season turned out for the Timberwolves. Butler believes the team’s young core could do better if they only exert more effort in improving every aspect of their game. The 28-year-old shooting guard said that winning remains his top priority, and if things won’t be better next season, Butler hinted the possibility that he could leave in the summer of 2019.
Butler has a player option on his contract that enables him to become an unrestricted free agent next offseason. If he leaves the Timberwolves, Cowley said that a return to the Chicago Bulls “isn’t far-fetched.” Despite being traded to the Timberwolves last summer, Butler has no bad feelings for the team who gave him the opportunity to showcase his skills in the league.
The Bulls will surely love the idea of having Jimmy Butler once again on their team. As Cowley noted, Bulls President Michael Reinsdorf is a huge fan of Butler, and the feeling is reportedly mutual. If he will be given the opportunity, Butler also expressed his willingness to retire in Chicago.
“I loved the city of Chicago, and I love the Reinsdorfs,” Butler said. “I’m forever grateful for them in taking a chance on me, allowing me to become the player that I am today. It’s still incredible to me that I got to hoop in a Bulls jersey. I got to play in the house that [Michael] Jordan built, that [Scottie] Pippen played, all that stuff. That’s because of the -Reinsdorfs. If the time comes where I say, ‘You know what, I do want to end this thing in a Bulls jersey,’ I think that would be amazing. But it’s all about being wanted and winning.”
With winning as his main priority, it remains questionable if the Bulls will be the perfect free agency destination for Jimmy Butler in the summer of 2019. The Bulls are mostly consisting of young players and still in the middle of the rebuilding process. By continuing to play together with rising superstars like Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns, Butler undeniably has a better chance of winning an NBA championship title in Minnesota. However, if Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn, and Lauri Markkanen show massive improvement next season, Butler’s return to Chicago may not really be far-fetched as Cowley said.