BLOOMINGTON, Minn. (KMSP) - The Minnesota Timberwolves introduced new acquisition Jimmy Butler at Thursday morning news conference at Mall of America. Butler wasted no time expressing his appreciation for the love he's felt from Minnesota since his arrival on Sunday.
“The city of Minneapolis and Minnesota as a whole has shown so much love since I landed here on Sunday," Butler said.
But the highlight of Jimmy Butler's press conference was the moment he gave his cell phone number to the assembled media, and multiple levels of Timberwolves fans gathered in the Rotunda at Mall of America. The offering came in response to a Chicago Sun Times reporter's question about the recent comments of former NBA player and Chicago native Antoine Walker, who called Butler a "bad locker room guy."
“Everybody’s entitled to their opinion, but with that being said, my phone is in my back pocket right now,” Butler said. “Whoever has anything to say to me feel free. 773-899-6071. If you want an interview, there you have it.”
Thursday afternoon, Butler posted a video on Instagram of a Facetime call he accepted, with the caption, "Taking calls, and y'all thought it was a game!"
The Timberwolves acquired Butler in a blockbuster trade that materialized just minutes into the June 22 NBA Draft. Minnesota traded Zach Lavine, last year's first round pick Kris Dunn, and the No. 7 overall pick in this year's draft to the Chicago Bulls for Butler and Chicago's No. 16 overall pick. The Timberwolves selected Lauri Markkanen with the No. 7 pick, sending Markkanen to Chicago
The trade reunites Jimmy Butler with current Timberwolves and former Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau.
“Thibs has molded me into the player I am today,” Butler said. “When I came into this league as a kid, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into, and Thibs let me know that I needed to work each and every day…and I’ve become a halfway decent basketball player because of it.”
The Timberwolves added 6'11 center Justin Patton of Creighton with the No. 16 overall pick via Chicago. Patton was introduced earlier this week.