"I got that game marked on my calendar," he said in a Wednesday story by Sam Alipour of ESPN The Magazine when discussing an upcoming contest against the Chicago Bulls. "Feb. 9, baby—I'm back. Oh, man, they better hope I go 0-for-30, 'cause every basket I score, I'm looking over at the bench and I got something to say."
The Bulls traded him to the Timberwolves in June and accelerated their rebuilding efforts, but to hear Butler tell it, there was more to the decision than basketball reasons.
"I probably did a lot of things that they didn't like—like maybe the way I would talk to my peers or coaches," he said, per Alipour. "People don't work as hard as I do. They don't expect the same things out of the game that I do. And I said from the beginning it was either gonna be me or the Fred Hoiberg route. And rightfully so, they took Fred."
DJ Dunson of Yahoo Sports detailed the rocky ending to Butler's tenure with the Bulls, noting he called out head coach Fred Hoiberg for not challenging his players enough. What's more, Butler's decision to challenge his teammates' work ethics and effort level "made him a locker room pariah last season."
Chicago's loss is Minnesota's gain, as it acquired a three-time All-Star, three-time member of an All-Defensive Team and a member of last season's All-NBA third teeam.
While he is not dominating from a statistical perspective in the early going of his first season with the Timberwolves with 15.1 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game, he provides a veteran presence for a franchise striving for its first postseason appearance since the 2003-04 campaign.
It is no accident the Timberwolves are 7-3 going into Wednesday's game against the Golden State Warriors.
Considering the Bulls are 2-7 and appear well on their way to a disastrous season, Butler will likely have plenty of opportunities to talk trash at the bench on Feb. 9.