After the first few picks of Thursday night’s 2017 NBA draft went as expected, the huge trade that had been in the offing for weeks finally unfolded: Former Bulls forward Jimmy Butler is headed to the Timberwolves for Kris Dunn and Zach LaVine. The two franchises also exchanged first-rounders, with Chicago getting Lauri Markkanen at No. 7 and Minnesota receiving Justin Patton at No. 16.
While the immediate aftermath of the trade had most Wolves fans ecstatic and most Bulls fans upset, no one was quite as outspoken as Butler’s personal trainer, Travelle Gaines.
0-82.worst culture in the league.I met drug dealers with better morals then their GM. He is a liar and everyone knows
— Travelle Gaines (@travellegaines) June 23, 2017
The general manager Gaines referenced in his message is Gar Forman, who has taken more than his share of lumps as the Bulls have struggled on and off the court. Notably this season, point guard Rajon Rondo went to Instagram to express his displeasure with Butler and Dwyane Wade.
My vets would never go to the media. They would come to the team. My vets didn't pick and choose when they wanted to bring it. They brought it every time they stepped in the gym whether it was practice or a game. They didn't take days off. My vets didn't care about their numbers. My vets played for the team. When we lost, they wouldn't blame us. They took responsibility and got in the gym. They showed the young guys what it meant to work. Even in Boston when we had the best record in the league, if we lost a game, you could hear a pin drop on the bus. They showed us the seriousness of the game. My vets didn't have an influence on the coaching staff. They couldn't change the plan because it didn't work for them. I played under one of the greatest coaches, and he held everyone accountable. It takes 1-15 to win. When you isolate everyone, you can't win consistently. I may be a lot of things, but I'm not a bad teammate. My goal is to pass what I learned along. The young guys work. They show up. They don't deserve blame. If anything is questionable, it's the leadership.
A post shared by Rajon Rondo (@rajonrondo) on Jan 26, 2017 at 3:03pm PST
The Bulls, weighed down by big contracts and aging players, managed an eighth-place finish in the Eastern Conference this season and bowed out to the Celtics in six games in the first round of the playoffs. Now, just a year after Forman spent plentifully on free agents in an attempt to contend this season, his team seems to be in full rebuilding mode.
Butler and Forman had a very rocky relationship, highlighted by, among other incidents, the front office threatening Butler that Tony Snell would play over him during Butler’s contract extension talks in 2014.
Butler, it should be noted, is currently in France (as Gaines’ location on his tweet reveals), and the timing of the trade made it so that the three-time All-Star found he was switching teams in the middle of the night. It doesn’t look like there’s any love lost between the two camps.
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