Jimmy Butler is still a member of the Chicago Bulls. Believe it or not, something feels empty. Jimmy Butler and the Bulls were the talk of the NBA Draft, along with the Boston Celtics and Minnesota Timberwolves. And the conversation was not about the moves that each team made but what did not happen.
Reports confirmed that the Chicago Bulls were listening to trade offers for Jimmy Butler with the Boston Celtics and Minnesota Timberwolves. Each team failed to consummate a deal, which became a bigger story than the draft itself.
Jimmy Butler was the apple of the Celtics and Timberwolves’ eye last night. Fans followed each tidbit of information that was placed on Twitter, and speculation about the trade took over social media for more than three hours. It was fun for a while, succumbing to the fact that Jimmy Butler was not involved in a trade was sobering. Hours after the NBA Draft, he remains with the Bulls.
There is still a strong possibility that the Chicago Bulls will trade Jimmy Butler to another team. Doing that will result in a total rebuilding project. Even with Butler on the team, it smells like there is a rebuild on the way.
As the draft continued, names of players were coming off the board. The Bulls, armed with the No. 14 pick, was on the clock. Their selection of Michigan State shooting guard Denzel Valentine became one of the feel-good moments of the draft.
Hearing his name being announced by NBA commissioner Adam Silver, Valentine’s infectious smile was displayed for the entire world to see. Last night created a genuine moment, where a player is elated about his destination. If the Bulls had traded Jimmy Butler, that moment would have been replaced with agony and disgust for the fans of one NBA team but happiness for the team receiving him.
Frustration reigned over the Celtics and the Timberwolves. Each team was hoping to acquire Butler. The Bulls made sure that in order to do so, they would have to give up a lot of assets. Fearing that they were giving up too much, both the Celtics and the Timberwolves balked.
In Chicago, the story took on a life of its own. Bulls’ general manager Gar Forman was in a stage of denial (courtesy of CSN Chicago).
“We were in no talks with anybody. There was no discussion during the entire draft this evening as far as Jimmy Butler was concerned.
“We have never made a call in regards to Jimmy Butler. We’ve talked about, we value Jimmy Butler, we’re very happy to have Jimmy Butler. We’ve got a phenomenal basketball player who was an All-Star and All-NBA defender, is still young, obviously we’ve got him under contract long-term, those are all positive. He, again, is what we want to be. We’ve said this all along. We like Jimmy Butler.”
Gar Forman and the Chicago Bulls may like Jimmy Butler, but reports from the national media suggest that they were in trade talks with both the Celtics and Timberwolves.
ESPN reported that a deal between the Bulls and Timberwolves fizzled late into the NBA Draft. The Bulls asked for guard Zach LaVine and Kris Dunn, who was the No. 5 pick in the draft. Instead of LaVine, the Timberwolves wanted to include point guard Ricky Rubio instead. That was enough to make the Bulls say no dice.
Gar Forman may not admit it, but he would not take back two point guards in a trade with the Timberwolves. A deal for Kris Dunn and Ricky Rubio makes no sense after the Bulls acquired Jose Calderon and Jerian Grant just days prior.
Getting a potential dynamic scorer in Zach LaVine would have offset the loss of Jimmy Butler. All hopes of competing for a spot in next season’s playoffs would have been dashed, but at least the Bulls would have been an entertaining team.
Despite the denials from Forman, a deal could still take place. Just because nothing happened on draft night, parameters of a trade will continue to be discussed. Minnesota will have to step up their offer if they really want Jimmy Butler on their team.
The same goes for the Celtics. Boston would have helped themselves in the Jimmy Butler sweepstakes had they drafted Kris Dunn. Instead, the Celtics panicked and drafted California’s Jaylen Brown. Because of their haste, Boston will not have any input on a deal with the Bulls.
The key to the Bulls making a deal was the opportunity to get Dunn. That is who the Bulls want. Now that the Timberwolves have him, and they did not need him, there are three teams who did not get their wish. The first domino was supposed to be the Celtics’ draft pick.
NBA free agency is a week away. More trades and trade rumors will circulate for the next week until that period begins. The Bulls will look to make a run at a couple of mid-level free agents, with the thought that if they were to trade Butler, they would have more money to spend. There will be NBA teams that will jockey for position, and the Bulls, Celtics, and Timberwolves are no exception.
One thing is for certain: In order to maneuver, the Chicago Bulls will keep their talks with the Minnesota Timberwolves alive. Meanwhile, the Boston Celtics will contemplate what went wrong with their proposal for the Bulls.
The Chicago Bulls failed to trade Jimmy Butler on draft night, but he still may get moved. Instead of a deal with the Celtics, the Bulls will try and send him to the Timberwolves.
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