The NBA trade rumors surrounding Jimmy Butler are heating up as the Chicago Bulls season continues to grow south, with increasing sentiment that the deal the Boston Celtics hoped to swing at this year’s trade deadline will end up taking place this offseason.
Butler has been the center of trade speculation for weeks, especially as the Bulls have fallen out of the playoff picture. While there have been a number of different teams connected to Butler, the Celtics sound to be the most serious.
As Fansided noted, the Celtics would have an advantage in that they have a lot of picks they can package to make a deal happen. This could be very attractive for the Bulls, who are rumored to be losing Pau Gasol as well and would be able to take the assets from a Butler trade to kick-start their rebuilding process.
There have been rumors for several months now that the Chicago Bulls could be growing tired of Jimmy Butler. Back in December, ESPN‘s Zach Lowe reported that Butler was becoming a bit too selfish and was not a great fit for the team.
“His rise has engendered some minor hard feelings within the team,” Lowe wrote. “There is a sense that Butler relishes the trappings of stardom a bit too much, and that he doesn’t do enough to support his teammates, as a playmaker or a cheerleader. The Bulls have been unusually vulnerable to infighting when things go bad during a game. They are not a team that socializes together off the floor.”
— NBA.com (@NBAcom) April 1, 2016
Some of Butler’s teammates have also called him out publicly, with Joakim Noah flat-out saying that Butler takes himself out of coach Fred Hoiberg’s offense.
“Fred put in a lot of ball movement, but we have a lot of guys who hold the ball a lot,” Joakim Noah told Lowe.
“Jimmy gets the ball a lot, and he’s deserving. The next step for him is to take a leadership role and making more plays for his teammates. We need more fluidity on offense.”
Butler even criticized Hoiberg after a loss in December, but the Bulls coach said this week that their relationship has improved a lot since then.
“I think Jimmy and I have a really good relationship right now. I’ve been communicating a lot with him. Since he had the injury and has come back we’ve really limited his time,” Hoiberg said. “He hasn’t done much in shootaround just to try and save his legs for the game. I obviously think the world of him for how hard he pushes himself and how much he’s just improved his game over the years with his work ethic. I think that rubs off onto the other guys. So Jimmy absolutely is a very important part to this team.”
Jimmy Butler has addressed the NBA trade rumors himself, saying after Thursday’s win over the Houston Rockets that he has no intention or desire to leave Chicago.
— USA TODAY Sports (@USATODAYsports) April 1, 2016
“That’s why I’m here,” Butler told ESPN. “I don’t plan on going anywhere. I can’t control what everybody else does. I know that this is the city that I love, Chicago. And I want to wear that jersey. I want to wear that name on the front, and I wear it proudly. All I got to do is continue to control what I can control. That’s try to help this team win games.”
Butler said he tries not to hear the trade rumors, noting that someone sent him a link to a story and he “just clicked off of it.” The Bulls forward said he can’t control any of it, and instead tries to focus on doing his job on the court.
[Picture by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images]