Longform podcast interviews are good for getting honest answers out of notable guests.
Bill Simmons got former Bulls wing Jimmy Butler to open up about a wide range of topics in an hour-plus interview on The Bill Simmons Podcast. Butler said plenty of interesting things about his time with and exit from the Bulls.
For starters, Butler opened up about how his draft day trade went down from his perspective. He said he was in Paris, playing cards with Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union.
“It was a great game of spades,” Butler said.
Butler recalled a comical reaction to his agent calling him in the middle of the game to let him know a move to Minnesota was likely.
“I said ‘OK, cool, I’m going to get back to my spades game’ because once again I can’t control that,” Butler said.
Butler said he had an exit interview with Gar Forman and John Paxson after the Bulls were knocked out of the playoffs. After the meeting, Butler explained that he wasn’t sure what direction the team would go in, either to build around Butler or go through a rebuild.
“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,” he said. “It was one or the other, but I just wanted to know. Was it clear when I left that meeting what we were going to do? No.”
Butler did eventually start to think that he would get traded from Chicago. He turned to Anthony for his experience in being traded.
Anthony is back in trade rumors again and while Butler wouldn’t say anything about Melo’s latest rumors, he did say he asked Anthony about going through the trade process.
“It was new to me,” Butler said. “It was shocking at first, but then it settled in. It was like it’s a business. You can’t act like you didn’t know eventually that this was going to happen. I may not have known that it was going to happen that day, but I knew I wasn’t going to be there.”
Butler is now reunited in Minnesota with former Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau and former Bulls teammate Taj Gibson. Simmons asked Butler if Thibodeau sleeps more than three hours. Butler's response: “No way.”
Butler’s return date to Chicago isn’t yet set with the NBA schedule set to come out in August. Simmons asked Butler about what his return to the United Center could be like.
“I’m just gonna try to score like five points in my first game back,” Butler said. "That’s all I need.”
While that answer doesn't really explain why he said he will try to score only five points, Butler thinks the Chicago crowd will give him some love. He was adamant that he wouldn’t cry though. That will be tested during the highlight reel the Bulls are likely to play for him in his return.
Butler also said he has no bad blood with owner Jerry Reinsdorf. Reinsdorf called him after the trade and Butler said he respected him for that.
“The ownership was phenomenal when I was there… as in great people,” Butler said. “(He) was always doing everything in the community, which means so much to me.
“They always put everybody in a position to be successful when it came to in that community and just being really great people and wanting it to be a family-like atmosphere.”
Butler also said he’s the best at dominoes, for whatever that’s worth.