In a not-so-shocking turn, it doesn’t sound like the Chicago Bulls want to entertain trade offers for Jimmy Butler.
After Butler and Derrick Rose came up in trade rumors, the Bulls wound up trading the latter. Many weren’t ready to agree the Bulls were done with a blowup, though, meaning the front office might have let Butler loose as well to gain as many assets for the future as possible.
Then the Bulls did a 180.
Despite losing Rose and Pau Gasol, the Bulls seemed to switch to a sudden win-now approach out of the blue. The team inked Rajon Rondo to a deal and then signed Dwyane Wade.
The newfound commitment to winning seems to have put a nail in the coffin of any potential butler deal, according to ESPN.com’s Zach Lowe:
The Bulls have talent. The front-court is well-stocked with good players, including Cristiano Felicio, a rugged and bouncy prospect the team adores. There just doesn’t appear to be a real plan beyond buying time. Butler is off the market for now, per league sources, and it’s tempting to read Chicago’s all-in splash as an effort to maintain a winner around him.
Rondo-Wade-Butler-Taj Gibson-Robin Lopez doesn’t scream championship like it might have four or five years ago. Still, it can keep the Bulls in playoff contention, if that’s what the team really wants.
Butler is worth keeping, of course. He’s 26 and posted 20.9 points per game last year and continues to emerge as one of the league’s premier scorers. If the front office can keep building the long-term roster around him well, this could be much more than a stop-gap solution before a fall off the proverbial cliff.
For now, teams in need of an elite scorer have to look elsewhere. It won’t stop teams from making offers and it especially won’t quiet the rumors market, but it doesn’t sound like the Bulls will take any offer in a serious manner.
Now, if Chicago tanks by the deadline and the team chemistry is a mess, this is an entirely different conversation.
Let the experiment begin.