Bulls Remain Unlikely To Trade Jimmy Butler

3:57pm: Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical (Twitter link) agrees that the Bulls’ asking price for Butler remains high, but notes that the Timberwolves have “assets and interest,” adding that Minnesota and Chicago made preliminary contact this week. The Wolves were also linked to Butler around the time of last year’s draft.

Meanwhile, the Suns are another team to watch if Chicago is willing to move Butler, tweets K.C. Johnson.

12:18pm: The Celtics’ impending acquisition of yet another future first-round pick has increased speculation that Danny Ainge will make a push for a star like Jimmy Butler or Paul George in the coming days. However, that talk is “based more on speculation than reality” when it comes to Butler, according to K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune, who cites three executives who don’t believe the Bulls forward is going anywhere this week.

Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times expresses a similar sentiment in his latest piece, writing that sources say the Bulls’ asking price for Butler is still “almost insurmountable,” and is unlikely to drop by Thursday. People around the Bulls aren’t even convinced that Ainge will come calling on Chicago before the draft, sources tell Vincent Goodwill of CSNChicago.com.

As Johnson details, the Celtics and Bulls discussed Butler at the trade deadline and around the time of last year’s draft, but February’s discussions were less serious than the talks in 2016. The Bulls asked for at least three – and possibly four – assets from the Celtics, and didn’t want to accept top-one protection on Boston’s 2017 first-round pick, according to Johnson.

While it’s possible that the Bulls’ position on Butler could change at some point, perhaps even later this week, there’s a belief around the league and within the Bulls organization that the Celtics plan to use the third overall pick in this year’s draft and then pursue Gordon Hayward in free agency. If Boston wants to make a blockbuster trade, the team would still have plenty of assets to pursue a deal after the free agent period, with or without Hayward.

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26 thoughts on “Bulls Remain Unlikely To Trade Jimmy Butler

  1. AdamPatterson123

    I think the Bulls could get the 3 pick, Bradley, Crowder, BOS ’18, and MEM ’19 post draft. That’s a top 3 pick, a guy they’ll target in FA anyways who may have outplayed Butler in the playoffs in Bradley, a good player on an even better contract in Crowder, a likely 10-14 pick from MEM in ’19, and a late 1st from BOS next year. Why would you not make that trade? In the same way its now or never for Boston in acquiring Butler, there is a limit on the expanse of his market for Chicago. Perhaps they forget this.

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    • justinept

      My issue is Bradley and Crowder. Bradley is about to be overpaid and Crowder will be coming near the end of that team-friendly deal by the time the Bulls have any realistic chance of contending. Definitely want the 3 pick, but I’d much rather the Bulls get Brown and the other picky sent to Boston instead of Crowder and Bradley.

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      • AdamPatterson123

        Bradley is 26, a guy that would be an ideal fit on Chicago they’d likely target as a FA anyways. I don’t see him a guy to get overpaid. Crowder has value to Chicago both in terms of his own production and as a guy that’s easy to turn into more assets in a year or two if the Bulls go that direction.

        This is the problem, Chicago acts like they’re trading Lebron James and wants an absolute ransom for Butler.

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        • justinept

          If the Bulls trade Jimmy Butler, their entire team looks different- and so there’s no way to know what an ideal fit would even be for that team. Bradley is a role player – a decent one, but still just a role player. There’s no such thing as an ideal role player for a rebuilding team. You don’t overpay for role players when you’re rebuilding. Additionally, Bradley would have to want to stay in Chicago. What reason would we have to do that unless he absolutely got overpaid?

          As for wanting too much for Butler… Says who? It’s debatable that the future LA/Sac pick and Brown are even a better package than Crowder and Bradley (which is your suggestion). I simply prefer the potential of the young player and the draft pick for a rebuilding team over two veteran players because 1 of those players is near free agency and the 2nd players biggest value is a contract that will be nearing its end by the time the Bulls even have a realistic shot at contending.

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          • AdamPatterson123

            Bradley is considered one of the best perimeter defenders in the NBA, a claim he validated in the playoffs, who also shoots 39% from behind the arc, and can create and close his own mid-range shot. And while he was hurt this year, he played 70+ games in the two years prior. He’ll still only be 26 years old coming into this season. He isn’t an elite NBA starter, but he isn’t a role player either. He’s a good player who can be a component of which you help build around. And Bradley has been open about the fact that he’ll go where he gets the most money, which the Bulls could then offer him after this trade. Believe me, you could do a lot worse.

            I’m not even sure that the Bulls are tanking if they add Bradley/Crowder and the number 3 pick, they finished 8th this year and likely should have finished top 6 given talent on the roster, and I’d put that hypothetical team somewhere between 10-7 within the East. It certainly won’t win an NBA title, but that’s not a bad team, and you’ve given yourself assets to move forward with.

            Yes Bradley’s contract is up, and if you aren’t resigning him, you can flip him for more assets in season. I’d think the Bulls would do well to get two good, serviceable players who also maintain high value on the trade market.

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            • justinept

              So why would the Bulls trade for him if they can just offer him the most money in a year and get him w/o having to give up their best player? As for flipping him… when? At mid-season? ‘Cause there are so many deadline deals that bring back anything of value. Got it.

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  2. justinept

    Here’s a big haul… and tell me who says no.

    Bulls get: #3 pick (from Boston); #10 pick (from Sacramento); 2018 Lakers pick/2019 Kings pick (whatever the hell Boston just acquired from Philly); Jaylen Brown (From Celtics); Timofey Mozgov (From Lakers) – That’s two guaranteed lottery picks with a third pick that has about a 90% shot of being in the lottery.) They take on a guaranteed contract of Mozgov, but the contract will come off the books by the time the Bulls are near contention.

    Celtics get: Jimmy Butler. Their trade this past weekend makes no sense unless they were trying to acquire assets to make a Butler run. Think about it like this. The Celtics, who drafted an offensivel-challenged, defensive-minded SF with the 3 pick a year ago, just traded the top pick so they could take another offensively-challenged, defensive-minded SF with the 3 pick this year – and their big FA quest is to bring in another SF? And oh yea, they already have an above-average SF in Jae Crowder? This makes sense to people, why? The Celtics should just get Butler and call it a day. I understand why they were hesitant at the deadline this year. The Bulls wanted two high lottery picks. Boston only had two, and they didn’t want to give up both of them. Well, now they have three, and they can give the Bulls two picks while still keeping the most valuable one for themselves (the 2018 Brooklyn pick.) Essentially, Boston said ‘no’ to Crowder, Brown, and both Brooklyn picks. Now they’re essentially just trading Brown and one of the Brooklyn picks.

    Kings get: #2 pick (From Lakers) – They seem to covet De’Aaron Fox, and most mock drafts suggest he’s going to be off the board by then. This guarantees they get their player. They’re basically giving up the 10th pick of the draft to make this happen. It’s not a cheap price to pay, but it’s still less than what the 76ers just gave up to move to the top of the draft from #3.

    Lakers get: #5 pick (from Kings); Rajon Rondo (from Bulls) – Lost in all the talk about Paul George’s desire to play in LA is that the Lakers are projected for about $17 million in cap space next summer — and that’s with renouncing all their free agents! They need to get under the cap fast, and that’s going to be difficult to do with the terrible contracts for Deng and Mozgov. To offer George a max deal, without trading Mozgov or Deng, the team would need to stretch both those deals. But even that wouldn’t get them all the way there, and they’d likely still need to either trade Jordan Clarkson or non tender Julius Randle. A simpler idea is to trade down three spots while off-loading the Mozgov contract on the Bulls. Because Rondo only has one year on his deal (and can even be waived for just $3 mil this off-season), the Lakers immediately save $16 million off their cap in 2018 (plus an extra $1.5 million, which is the difference in the second year of salary of this year’s #5 pick vs the #2 pick.) Stretching Deng at that point would save an additional $10 million off the cap in 2018, which now gives the Lakers more than enough to give George a max deal without having to get rid of Clarkson or Randle.

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    • justinept

      TL/DR

      Bulls get two guaranteed top-10 picks, a young player with good potential and a third likely top-10 pick.

      Celtics get Butler while giving up only about half what the Bulls asked from them at the deadline.

      Kings get D’Aaron Fox (whom they covet) at the cost of the 10 pick.

      Lakers get the necessary cap space to land Paul George next summer at the cost of moving down three spots in the draft.

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  3. GMB 883

    Holy kaka that’s a lot to digest. Don’t see the Celtics giving up anywhere near that much for Butler. Remember over the weekend we heard the Bulls were supposedly talking to Philly about the 3rd pick for Butler, so why would the Celtics have to give all of that up for a very good player (not great) with 2 years left on his contract? Doesn’t make sense. Jaylen Brown might end up being better in time. They would be better off going after Blake Griffin and Hayward.

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    • mcmillankmm

      Yeah, agreed, Boston ain’t giving up that to get Butler.

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      • justinept

        If you think Philly turned down Butler for the 3 pick, then you’re crazy. Do I believe the Bulls asked for the 3 pick as part of a package for Butler? Absolutely. But that package probably also included multiple assets like Okafor, Saric and the future Lakers pick. Come on – the Bulls are on the record sayign the’d want at least FOUR pieces for Butler. You really think they’d settle for a single piece, a piece that would likely net them a guy in Josh Jackson whose ceiling is Jimmy Butler? That’s ridiculous.

        As for the Celtics… Too much for Butler? Holy hell. They’re essentially giving up the Brooklyn pick in 2017 and Jaylen Brown. This was basically their offer in February. But now it’s way too much? Right…

        As for Griffin and Heyward. Griffin is an oft-injured PF who averages 20 and 8. Feel free to give a max contract for that combination. And Heyward, while good (and certainly better than Griffin) doesn’t put the Celtics in the conversation with Cleveland – much less with Golden State. Butler is the only one of these three that might actually push Boston past Cleveland.

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        • AdamPatterson123

          See? This is the problem. Chicago fans/Garpax acting like trading Jimmy Butler is the equivalent of trading the 2nd best player in the NBA. If you hold out for multiple top picks/good young players, you’ll be waiting a long time. Why would the Celtics trade just the 3 pick and Jaylen? That would destroy their cap space and make it impossible for them to add Hayward or other free agents.

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          • justinept

            Again, you realize you keep saying Boston should trade TWO of their core players and the three pick… but somehow the three pick, a rookie who couldn’t crack their rotation, and a contingent draft pick is WAY too much. So remind me – is Boston trying to contend or are they rebuilding? Giving up two of their starting 5 would suggest a rebuild.

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            • AdamPatterson123

              No bozo, you trade Bradley and Crowder because you need their salaries along with the #3 pick to match Butler, the thought being if you match Butler’s salary, you maintain max room to also sign Hayward. So yes, you’ve traded two starters and other draft assets, but you’ve replaced those starters with two All Stars.

              By your logic, we’re trading our best young player, our best pick, and all of our cap room. That’s giving up too much. I’d be more inclined to throw more picks into that other deal to maintain cap space.

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        • justinept

          and one more fun fact… If you add Tyler Zeller to this deal, the Celtics only take on an extra $1.76 million by bringing in Jimmy Butler… how, you ask?

          Well, the 3rd pick of the draft is going to cost $3.95 million. Jaylen Brown is going to cost $4.96 million. And Zeller (who barely played last year) will cost $8 million. Meanwhile, Butler will cost $18.67 million. the difference is $1.76 million.

          Their cap currently sits at 71.94 million. Add the 1.76 million, and you’ll get $73.7 million. The projected cap is $101 million, giving Boston a projected $27.3 million of cap space this summer – EVEN with Jimmy Butler. So maybe stop bringing up all the other moves that Butler would prevent them from making. They could add Butler and Heyward – or Griffin.

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          • AdamPatterson123

            No, they couldn’t because signing Hayward or Griffin is accounting for them RENOUNCING Zeller’s contract. SO study up bozo

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            • justinept

              As a free agent with no 7-9 years experience in the league and no significant accolades, Heyward can max out with a contract at 30% of the projected $101 million cap. That’s a 1st year salary of $30.3 million.

              For the Celtics to give him that offer they’ll need to sit at $70.7 million in payroll…

              They’re currently at $71.94 million. If they make the 3rd selection of the draft, you have to add $3.95 million in salary. That puts Boston at $75.89 million in salary. So yes, ridding themselves of Zeller’s $8 million would get them there under that scenario.

              However, if you start with that $71.94 million figure, then you take out Zeller’s $8 million, Brown’s $4.96 million, and the 3rd picks $3.95 million – then you come to a cap of $55.03 million. You add in Butler’s $18.67 million commitment, and you get $73.70 million. Again, you’ve added $1.76 million in cap.

              Now, you have two options. 1) You can see if Heyward will accept $3 million less (Durant is about to do just that…) Or 2) You can renounce Demitrius Jackson and Jordan Mickey, two guys that NEVER play.

              Regardless of how you want to get there, the fact remains that the Celtics can acquire Jimmy Butler this week and still make an all-out effort to land Heyward without affecting their core one iota.

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              • justinept

                So the question is this…

                Which roster has a better chance of winning…

                One with Heyward, J Brown, J Jackson, D. Jackson, and J. Mickey

                Or one with Butler and Heyward.

                To me, this is a no brainer. Brown and Jackson are both guys with tons of potential. And if they reach that potential, they might become what Jimmy Butler is… But right now, neither is good enough defensively to mask their offensive deficiencies, and both are going to be buried on a depth chart that includes Heyward and Crowder ahead of them.

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  4. Idk how you take anything less than 1st ovr pick for Butler. Unless he says he’s leaving, how are you going to find another Jimmy? I dont get it, he’s top-5 player in the league arguably, people will come to play with Jimmy, people want to play with Jimmy, good market in Chicago. Now that it’s Jimmys team it’s up to GarPax to make sensible signings and surround him with talent. Chitowns one of the greatest cities in the world, ppl will come now that Jimmys the man

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    • Hannibal8us

      Nobody wanted to play with MVP Rose and nobody wants to play with Butler. The reality is Chicago isn’t a destination except when Jordan was there. Jimmy is going to have to choose big money by staying in Chicago or winning a Championship by signing elsewhere but not both.

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  5. wdwyer

    All speculation. The bulls were an injury away from beating the number one seed in the eastern conference. Why would they then trade their best player. I get it the writers need to write some bullshit because it’s their job, but it’s just what they think their readers want to read.

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    • justinept

      The Celtics got pantsed in the ECF by a team that got pantsed in the finals. Comping them to Boston doesn’t mean much to me. The Bulls are nowhere close to being a team with any realistic shot of winning something that matters.

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      • wdwyer

        They beat them twice on their home court then one of their better players got injured. Seems pretty darn close to me.

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