The Bulls are at a “real crossroads” at this year’s trade deadline, Mark Strotman of CSN Chicago writes. With a 28-29 record, Chicago enters the All-Star break as the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference. Given the top-heavy conference, Strotman notes, even the most optimistic fan wouldn’t have the Bulls projected to advance past the first round of the playoffs. Taj Gibson will be mentioned in trade rumors, as will Robin Lopez and Doug McDermott. While Jimmy Butler has “peak trade value,” the Bulls have incentives to keep the 27-year-old; particularly on his team-friendly contract.
For what it’s worth, Butler reportedly isn’t interested in being traded. Sources told Seerat Sohi of ESPN that Butler is “grounded in Chicago,” and feels loyalty to the franchise that took a chance on him in the 2011 draft.
More from around the Central…
- Still on his first 10-day contract, Derrick Williams has made quite an impression on the Cavs. According to Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com, the team envisions Williams as their seventh or eighth man against the Warriors in the Finals. The Cavs are going to sign Williams to a minimum contract for the rest of the season, Vardon writes, but the 25-year-old is expected to pursue a bigger payday over the offseason. In order to maintain roster flexibility through the trade deadline, the Cavs will postpone signing Williams to a minimum deal until after his second 10-day contract expires.
- ESPN’s NBA Insiders discussed the best deadline deals for teams around the Central. Three of ESPN’s four contributors advocated the Cavs stand pat (largely due to cap restrictions), while Jeremias Engelmann suggested the team shop Kyrie Irving. Such a trade would never materialize, Engelmann writes, but the four-time All-Star’s “market value is many times greater than the actual impact he has on the game.” Amin Elhassan cited Ricky Rubio as a natural fit for the Pistons, calling him a “true set-up man” to summon Andre Drummond‘s offensive potential.
- Bobby Marks of The Vertical profiled the Pistons and Bucks in his deadline preview series; two teams “fighting for the East’s last playoff spot.” The Pistons have limited roster flexibility, and would likely be best off holding onto current and future draft assets, Marks writes. Detroit may shop Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, a restricted free agent-to-be, particularly in light of an underwhelming shooting guard market. Marks cited the Bucks’ need to acquire a stopgap for the injured Jabari Parker without selling off assets. As evidenced by Milwaukee’s recent trade with the Hornets, GM John Hammond won’t be afraid to shake up the roster if need be.