Although there was some speculation on draft night that teams like the Celtics and Timberwolves could eventually revisit their trade negotiations for Jimmy Butler, the Bulls’ All-Star is off the market “for now,” writes ESPN’s Zach Lowe in his round-up of free agency’s winners and losers.
Given the way Bulls general manager Gar Forman emphatically denied the Butler trade rumors in the wake of this year’s draft, Forman and company may argue that the standout wing was never on the trade block. However, multiple reports indicated that the Bulls were involved in trade discussions involving Butler and various top-five picks — the team was said to have been very high on Kris Dunn, who was ultimately selected fifth overall by the Wolves.
While the deal that sent Derrick Rose to the Knicks signaled that rebuilding efforts may be underway in Chicago, the club ultimately surrounded Butler with other veteran talent. Robin Lopez was one of the pieces the Bulls received in the Rose trade, and the team subsequently added Rajon Rondo and Dwyane Wade in free agency.
A lineup that features Rondo, Wade, and Butler looks somewhat unusual on paper, since all three players are at their best with the ball in their hands, and none are particularly strong outside shooters. So it’s possible that by the time the 2017 trade deadline rolls around, the Bulls will be more open to dealing Butler or one of those other veterans. For now though, it appears that the club wants to see what the current group can do under head coach Fred Hoiberg.