Jimmy Butler is not being shopped around if you ask anyone from the Chicago Bulls’ organization. Teams are building offers to blow the Bulls away in an effort to acquire the All-Star guard. With that in mind, the Bulls should think long and hard about the direction of the franchise. If you believe any of the NBA trade rumors that are circulating, the Chicago Bulls will get some great offers. Should they stay the course or make a trade?
It is time be honest about the Bulls. And hopefully the Bulls will be honest about themselves.
Truthfully, they are closer to being a rebuilding team than they are a contender.
The core of Joakim Noah, Pau Gasol, Derrick Rose, and Jimmy Butler will take on a drastic change. Look for Noah and Gasol to bolt via free agency.
Neither player are what they once were.
Joakim Noah, who has been hampered by injuries the past couple of seasons, was never a scorer. His rebounding and defense anchored the Bulls throughout his career. Noah has reportedly told teammates that he will not be back. Former Bulls head coach, now Minnesota Timberwolves’ coach and president, Tom Thibodeau is said to be interested in a reunion up north, according to the Star Tribune.
Pau Gasol wants to play for a title contender. He took less money and years to play for the Bulls two years ago. Age has caught with Gasol, limiting his mobility and effectiveness in the paint. His age is also a reason why the Bulls may just let him walk as a free agent. If the plan is to get younger and more athletic, then Pau Gasol is the exact opposite of that.
Does it matter if he can still play? Not really. The team has to see what they really have in Nikola Mirotic and Bobby Portis.
As for Derrick Rose, his name is involved in just about as many NBA trade rumors as Jimmy Butler. If there is smoke, there is fire. Besides, Rose is a free agent at the end of next season and may not have any interest remaining in Chicago. The Bulls have gambled on players staying in free agency before. They were burned every time.
That would leave Jimmy Butler as the lone player left from the core. He could be the man in Chicago, or with either the Boston Celtics, Minnesota Timberwolves, or Orlando Magic. Those are the teams who the NBA trade rumors have as interested parties.
The Timberwolves are the latest team to be willing to put together a package for Jimmy Butler. ESPN‘s Marc Stein reported their desires for the All-Star shooting guard. There is now even a trade idea put together by Chad Ford. In the deal, the Bulls would receive the No. 5 pick, guard Zach LaVine, forward Gorgui Dieng, and center Nikola Pekovic.
That would be a workable trade, although the Bulls will probably want Andrew Wiggins instead of Zach LaVine. Wiggins has the ceiling to be a future All-Star. He is a solid wing defender and scorer. In fact, you can say that Andrew Wiggins is a poor man’s Jimmy Butler at this stage in his development. Any deal involving him would take at least two years to determine a winner. Andrew Wiggins is set to take the next step next season. In 2018, he should be the player that he is supposed to be, which is a player in the mold of Jimmy Butler and Joe Johnson from his Atlanta Hawks days.
A potential trade with the Boston Celtics would center around the No. 3 pick. The Celtics have some good players whom they can send in a deal, although no one close to the potential of Andrew Wiggins unless Marcus Smart is available. Smart is not quite the defender Wiggins is, but the Celtics guard has a killer instinct.
Guard Avery Bradley would assuredly be in the trade going to the Bulls. But again, the key to this deal is the No. 3 pick. The Bulls would love to draft point guard Kris Dunn or shooter Buddy Hield. Making a trade with the Celtics guarantees the Bulls a shot at both of them. It also gives them an opportunity to look at Kentucky guard Jamal Murray.
The sleeper team who could submit an offer to the Bulls for Jimmy Butler is the Orlando Magic.
Picking at No. 11, the Magic does not have the cachet of the Timberwolves or Celtics in terms of a favorable draft pick, but they have Victor Oladipo who they can dangle, along with Aaron Gordon. The Magic will probably lose out on any trade with the Bulls, but do not dismiss them from offering up a great trade idea.
It would be wise for the Bulls to accept a strong offer from a team interested in Jimmy Butler. It is the key to start over. And it is possible that the players they can get in return can make up for the loss of the players who are leaving.
Kris Dunn may turn out to be a superstar in the NBA. The same goes for Buddy Hield and Jamal Murray. Jimmy Butler is a really good player. Is he a top-10 NBA star? That remains to be seen.
The Chicago Bulls have a chance to get younger and put together a team that can become the class of the NBA in the next two seasons. All the Bulls have to do is take a chance on one of the offers that teams are preparing to blow them away with.
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