Bulls won’t rule out trading Jimmy Butler
The Chicago Bulls will look to make some significant changes this offseason after they missed the playoffs for the first time since 2008. Is trading away their best player an option?
In a press conference on Wednesday, Bulls vice president of basketball operations John Paxson and GM Gar Forman would not rule out blowing up the team this summer. When asked if they could trade Jimmy Butler, neither Paxson nor Forman declared Butler untouchable.
“I would say, I think John made it pretty clear we’ve got to take a look at everything,” Forman said, per Vincent Goodwill of CSNChicago.com. “We’ve got to explore all options and I don’t think there’s anything that’s off the table when you have a disappointing year like this. With that said, obviously Jimmy has had a fantastic year. From where he was to where he’s gotten to, he’s become a very, vey valuable player for us.”
“There’s one untouchable guy I’ve ever been around, Michael Jordan,” Paxson added. “So that’s how I’ve always looked at it.”
Goodwill speculates that the Bulls’ brass could have been trying to send a message to Butler, who is entering the second year of a four-year max contract he signed last offseason. There were several reports during the season that tension had grown between Butler and his teammates. Rumors about Butler not getting along with Derrick Rose have persisted for over a year now.
And it wasn’t just the teammates. Butler also publicly called out first-year head coach Fred Hoiberg during the season. You can read those comments here.
The Bulls are clearly going to listen to offers for Butler, though it would take a lot to convince them to trade a 26-year-old who has quickly become one of the best players in the league. Ideally, they just want him to be a better teammate and leader.