There are some rival executives who think that the Bulls and Celtics will revisit trade talks involving Jimmy Butler in the coming weeks, according to K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune. The two teams discussed Butler around the time of the 2016 draft, and as Johnson points out, Boston still holds the same assets that were a major part of those June talks: Jae Crowder, Marcus Smart, and multiple first-round picks.
Johnson rightly notes that Butler has a chance to become eligible for a designated veteran extension in the summer of 2018, if he makes an All-NBA team next season. The possibility of qualifying for that mega-extension may sour Butler on the idea of a trade, since he wouldn’t be eligible for a designated veteran deal if he changes teams. Of course, the veteran swingman doesn’t have any sort of no-trade clause, so he couldn’t stop a deal if the Bulls wanted to move him.
Since those June trade talks, there has been little to no indication that Chicago intends to move its biggest star. However, as Johnson writes, it’s not out of the question that last week’s drama involving Butler, Dwyane Wade, and Rajon Rondo generates a new round of “internal debate” about the team’s long-term core.
As we wait to see whether Butler stays put through the trade deadline, let’s round up a few more Bulls notes…
- The 14th overall pick in the 2016 draft, Denzel Valentine has endured an up-and-down rookie season so far. In his aforementioned piece for The Tribune, Johnson details how Valentine has responded to the injury issues, illnesses, and coaching decisions that have slowed him down in his first NBA season.
- Bobby Portis is another young Bulls player who has seen his playing time fluctuate this season under Fred Hoiberg, but he got a chance to see some action on Sunday with Taj Gibson ailing, Johnson writes in a separate article for The Tribune. As for Gibson, he hopes to return to Chicago’s lineup on Wednesday night in Oklahoma City after receiving a cortisone shot on Sunday.
- In the wake of Rondo’s Instagram post last week, in which he defended his younger teammates and criticized the actions of Butler and Wade, the veteran point guard has received praise from those younger teammates, according to Johnson. Nikola Mirotic and Jerian Grant are among the Bulls players that referred to Rondo as a great teammate.