Butler changes address as flurry of deals spice Draft night
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[June 24, 2017]
By Larry Fine
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Beyond the
scouting, strategy and suspense of teams trying to select the right
player for their slot in the NBA Draft, a spate of trades spiced up
the proceedings at Brooklyn's Barclays Center on Thursday.
The biggest bombshell sent All-Star guard Jimmy Butler from the
Chicago Bulls to the Minnesota Timberwolves, where Butler was
reunited with his former coach Tom Thibodeau.
The T-Wolves also received draft rights to 16th pick Justin Patton
of Creighton, while the Bulls beefed up their roster by getting
promising Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn and the rights to Arizona's Lauri
Markkanen of Finland, the seventh player taken.
Butler, one of the league's most dynamic two-way players, joined
forces again with Thibodeau, who coached the Bulls for five seasons
before being fired in 2015.
A dependable scorer and hard-nosed defender, Butler gives Thibodeau
an intriguing complement to the Wolves' young stars Karl-Anthony
Towns and Andrew Wiggins.
The Wolves drafted Arizona's sharpshooting forward Markkanen for the
Bulls, while Chicago took Creighton forward Justin Patton at number
16 for Minnesota, who have gone 13 seasons in a row without reaching
Butler, 27, averaged career highs in points (23.9), rebounds (6.2)
and assists (5.5) and as a top defender brings a key ingredient to a
team that ranked 26th in defensive efficiency.
Los Angeles, under new basketball operations chief Earvin "Magic"
Johnson, paved the way for a return to their 'Showtime' flair by
trading young point guard D'Angelo Russell and taking dazzling
backcourtman Lonzo Ball of UCLA with the second pick.
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Justin Patton (Creighton) is introduced as the number sixteen
overall pick to the Chicago Bulls in the first round of the 2017 NBA
Draft at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY
The Lakers sent Russell and Russian center Timofey Mozgov to the
Brooklyn Nets for center Brook Lopez and the rights to forward Kyle
Kuzma, the 27th pick in the draft, out of Utah.
Russell, the second overall choice by the Lakers in the 2015 draft,
averaged 15.6 points, 3.5 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 1.4 steals last
Nine-year veteran Lopez appeared posted averages of 20.5 points, 5.4
rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.7 blocks last season while becoming the
longest-tenured player in Nets history.
The Lakers also exchanged picks with the Utah Jazz, who made another
deal with the Denver Nuggets, while the Sacramento Kings and
Portland Trail Blazers agreed on a two-for-one swap.
Sacramento sent Portland the 10th pick (forward Zach Collins) for
the 15th (forward Justin Jackson) and 20th picks (center Harry
(Editing by Rory Carroll)
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