The Bulls must bring back Jimmy Butler, even though it will strain their finances, contends K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune. Butler is almost certain to receive a maximum contract, which would start at an estimated $15.8MM per season. Counting the team’s first-round pick, which falls at No. 22, Chicago would have $80MM budgeted for 11 players, which is just below the luxury tax figure of $81.6MM. It will be tough to stay below that number if Mike Dunleavy is re-signed, Johnson writes. One possibility is trading Taj Gibson, who will make $8.5MM next season and is signed through 2016/17.
There’s more offseason news from Chicago:
- The Bulls need to find a way to keep Tom Thibodeau as their coach, writes David Haugh of The Chicago Tribune. Speculation that Thibodeau was on the way out started well before the playoffs, even though the coach has two years left on his contract and the Bulls landed the third seed in the East. Haugh argues that bringing in a new coach would lessen the sense of urgency for Chicago to be a title contender next year.
- Despite the team’s disappointing finish, the Bulls have to be encouraged by the late-season return of Derrick Rose, contends Sean Highkin of Bleacher Report. This will be the first summer since 2011 that Rose won’t be recovering from a major knee injury, Highkin notes. “My body felt good,” Rose said. “It’s all about going into the lab this summer and putting my game back together. See where that takes me.” Chicago needs increased court time from its franchise player, who will make more than $20MM next season and more than $21MM in 2016/17 before becoming a free agent that summer.
- Terry Rozier of Louisville has a Monday workout set for the Bulls, tweets Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders.