“Out of town stupid” is a frequent phrase heard on sports talk radio.
It refers to fans and media in other cities having a different, and usually misinformed, view of your hometown city’s sports teams.
It happens quite a bit with Chicago franchises, and it was rampant on Thursday night during the National Basketball Association (NBA) Draft, and well into the night.
While on my second job driving overnight, I had to frequently change the radio station to avoid getting angry at national hosts and fans calling in to say how the Chicago Bulls were idiots for trading Jimmy Butler to the Minnesota Timberwolves to be reuinted with former Bulls' coach Tom Thibodeau.
If they lived in the Chicagoland area and listened to informed local media, they would know that this was the absolute right thing to do.
And being the sports talk radio junkie that I am, I knew in a few hours, the Bulls beat writers from the Chicago newspapers would be on the sports stations explaining why. (By the way, that’s exactly what happened between the hours of 7 and 11 a.m., depending on which Chicago station you listen to.)
So let me, the not-so-well-known sports editor in La Porte County who stays informed and follows the NBA religiously, set the out-of-town-stupid (and many in-town-stupid, for that matter) straight on why the Bulls did the right thing.
First, yes they did get “fleeced” as many outlets stated. But that doesn’t mean they were wrong. According to multiple sources of Chicago beat writers (whose job it is to be smarter than the rest of us), this was the best offer given to the Bulls.
Sure, they wanted the third pick overall or the high first-rounder next year from the Boston Celtics. The easy-to-hate Danny Ainge (anyone who watched him play knows what I mean), general manager of the Celtics, said no.
Sure, the Bulls wanted the Phoenix Suns’ No. 4 pick. They said no.
Even the Denver Nuggets supposedly turned down an offer.
So for Butler and the No. 16 pick, the Bulls got point guard Kris Dunn, whom they targeted last season but couldn’t pull the trigger with Minnesota, Zach LaVine, who averaged 19 points per game before suffering a torn ACL midway through last season, and the No. 7 pick, which turned out to be Arizona freshman Lauri Markkanen, a 7-footer who shoots 3-pointers at a 40-percent clip.
Secondly, yes they were right in trading Butler now. For once, Bulls management picked a lane, chose a direction, and were decisive.
Remember last offseason when Gar Forman told us the team wanted to get younger and more athletic? Then a couple weeks later they signed Rajon Rondo and Dwyane Wade as free agents — definitely not young or athletic at this point in their careers.
Not this time. Executive vice president John Paxson said enough is enough, and he used the word “rebuilding” multiple times in Thursday night’s press conference.
They weren’t going to win a title with Butler as their best player. Sorry, but he’s not the No. 1 superstar on a champion. He’s not Michael or Kareem or Magic or Larry or Kobe or Shaq or LeBron. He’s more like Scottie Pippen, Klay Thompson, Kyrie Irving or Kevin McHale — a really good player who earns all-star and all-NBA team honors, but not quite good enough to carry a team to a title.
This way, the Bulls can move on from dysfunction and build from the ground up. That’s how the Golden State Warriors did it. Calling the Warriors a “super team” doesn’t take into account that Thompson, Stephen Curry and Draymond Green were all drafted, and they won a title in 2015 without Kevin Durant.
Also, this was the last possible moment to trade Butler. If it wasn’t done this offseason, the Bulls were screwed in more ways than one.
This is where the knowledgeable Chicago media is a step ahead of the out-of-town-stupid. There’s a new clause in the collective bargaining agreement called the DPV (Designated Player Veteran) exception to coerce stars to stay with the team that drafted them. If a player entering his eighth year is a free agent after being on the all-NBA team in the previous season or two, he is eligible for the DPV (also called the “Super Max” deal). Butler was on the all-NBA third team this past season, and if he made it again next year, he would be eligible for the Super Max in 2019.
Under the clause, Butler would be paid $246 million over five years — yes, that’s almost $50 million per season. There is no way on God’s green Earth Butler is worth that much.
So this was the time to trade him with two years left on a fairly cost-effective contract ($19.8 million per year) before there’s any chance the Bulls could be on the hook for all that money. And the trade away from his original team costs him tons of money, which is why you can’t blame Butler if he’s a little upset.
Will the Bulls be bad for a couple years? More than likely, but it’s better than being around .500 again, fighting for a meaningless 7 or 8 seed in the playoffs with a toxic atmosphere. Whether Paxson and Forman can draft well and rebuild the team effectively is another story.
• Valpo grad gets picked: The best moment of the NBA Draft might have been in the second round as the Phoenix Suns picked at No. 54.
I only got to cover Valparaiso University graduate Alec Peters for one season while at another newspaper, but he was a great guy and always willing to talk. He was the Horizon League player of the year last season, averaging 23 points per game.
And he was rewarded when the Suns took him with that second-round pick, making him the first Valpo men’s basketball player to be drafted since a fairly famous one in Bryce Drew back in 1998.
It would have been cool for the Bulls to pick the Washington (Ill.) High School grad, but just to get picked is quite the accomplishment for a player at a small mid-major like Valpo.
Reach sports editor Steve T. Gorches at email@example.com or (219) 214-4206. Follow him on Twitter @SteveTGorches.