The NBA trade rumors facing Jimmy Butler have heated up again, with the guard reportedly still on the trade block after the Bulls already dealt one All-Star guard.
Butler has inherited the position as top player on the team after the Bulls dealt Derrick Rose to the New York Knicks this week. There had long been rumors that both Butler and Rose could be on the trade block, but it was assumed that the Bulls might stop after dealing one of the two.
That may no longer be the case. Even after dealing Rose, it appears that Jimmy Butler is still on the trade block and that the Chicago Bulls are actively shopping him to potential trade partners. The team could be moving into a full rebuild, and shipping Butler would allow them to start again from scratch.
There has already been some action on Jimmy Butler. The Minnesota Timberwolves reportedly tried to land Butler during the NBA Draft, offering the No. 5 pick of the draft, Kris Dunn. The Bulls reportedly had some high interest in Dunn, but the offer wasn’t good enough to part with Butler.
ESPN‘s Marc Stein reported that the Bulls had some initial interest but ultimately backed off the deal, though Bulls general manager Gar Forman was tight-lipped about exactly what went on.
“During the draft, we started getting some texts and saw something on TV that we were in heated talks with somebody,” Forman said. “I don’t know what it was saying. We were in no talks with anybody. There was no discussion during the entire draft this evening as far as Jimmy Butler was concerned.”
Steve Rosenbloom of the Chicago Tribune noted that it’s likely Jimmy Butler is still traded — and likely very soon.
“Jimmy Butler’s name reportedly came up in trade rumors involving the Celtics, Magic and Timberwolves.
“But he remained a Bull on draft night Thursday.
“Why? Why is Butler still a Bull? Why didn’t the rebuild happen on the best night to set a new foundation and direction?
“I expect Butler to tell Gar Forman to “general manage harder.”
Forman has been trying to cool the NBA trade rumors surrounding Jimmy Butler, telling ESPN that the guard has been working out at the team’s facility and has been in contact with team management.
Bulls GM: 'We Didn't Shop Jimmy Butler' https://t.co/yVzwno8IyO
— SLAM Magazine (@SLAMonline) June 24, 2016
That seemed a meaningful update given the rumors last season of tension between Butler and team management. ESPN‘s Zach Lowe reported earlier this year that Butler was seen as a bit too selfish, that he got caught up in his newfound stardom and didn’t do enough to support his teammates.
That even led Bulls center Joakim Noah to call out Butler publicly, saying he wasn’t buying into 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.”
Jimmy Butler's message to Derrick Rose pic.twitter.com/aZdxBrXyjI
— Sports Buzz (@sportsbuzztv) June 25, 2016
And while he denied the draft night trade rumors, Forman is clear that the team is still open to trading Butler.
“You’ve got to keep an open mind,” Forman said. “I think [Bulls executive vice president] John Paxson said it best when we met [with the media] in [April]. He was only around one guy in an 11-year career that was untradable, and that was Michael Jordan. I mean, you’re always going to listen, but we value — and I’ve said this — we value Jimmy. We appreciate Jimmy. We think Jimmy is a heck of a basketball player. We love his work ethic. And for us to ever consider anything, it would have to be something that just absolutely knocked our socks off.”
While it’s still very probable that he’s dealt sometime soon, the NBA trade rumors surrounding Jimmy Butler are quiet for now.
[Picture by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images]