Jimmy Butler

Bulls Trade Jimmy Butler To Timberwolves

JUNE 22, 8:58pm: The deal is now official, with commissioner Adam Silver announcing it during the TV broadcast of tonight’s draft.

6:44pm: The Timberwolves are set to acquire Bulls forward Jimmy Butler, with K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune tweeting that the two sides have reached an agreement in principle on a Butler deal.Jimmy Butler vertical

According to Johnson (via Twitter), the Bulls will receive Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn, and the No. 7 overall pick. The Wolves will also receive the No. 16 selection from Chicago. Marc Stein of ESPN.com (via Twitter) first reported that a deal was close.

The deal reunites Butler with Tom Thibodeau, his former coach in Chicago, who now serves as coach and president of basketball operations in Minnesota. Butler has been an All-Star the past three seasons and averaged 23.9 points and 6.2 rebounds with the Bulls this year.

The Timberwolves are taking on much more salary in the deal than they are unloading. They had about $24MM in available cap room after waiving Nikola Pekovic on Tuesday and receiving cap relief for his remaining salary.

Butler has three seasons left on the $95MM deal he signed with the Bulls in 2015. He is due to make nearly $18.7MM next year and more than $19.8MM in both 2018/19 and 2019/20. He also has a 5% trade bonus in his contract, tweets Bobby Marks of The Vertical, giving him an extra $1.8MM over the next three seasons.

In return, the Bulls will receive LaVine, a promising 22-year-old combo guard whose season ended in early February when he suffered a torn ACL in his left knee; and Dunn, the fifth overall pick last year. Both players are on rookie contracts and were discussed when the two teams talked about a Butler trade a year ago. Chicago will also land Lauri Markkanen, the seventh overall pick.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bulls Notes: Rebuild, Rondo, Mirotic, Wade

Bulls executives Gar Forman and John Paxson spoke to reporters late on Thursday night in the wake of the blockbuster trade that sent Jimmy Butler to Minnesota and signaled a full-scale rebuild in Chicago. As Nick Friedell of ESPN.com tweets, Paxson explicitly used the R-word (“rebuild”) in his comments.

As a result of the its new direction, the club will remain “patient and disciplined” this offseason, according to Paxson, who says the Bulls won’t be investing big money in players unless there’s a long-term fit (Twitter link via Friedell).

Here’s more on the Bulls:

  • Forman said tonight that it’s not yet clear whether the Bulls will pick up Rajon Rondo‘s option (Twitter link via Friedell). According to Sam Amick of USA Today (Twitter link), there has been no discussion yet of a buyout for Rondo, but it’s “clearly a possibility” after the Butler trade. Rondo’s contract has a built-in buyout, since it’s only guaranteed for $3MM right now, so the Bulls would have to waive him by June 30 to avoid being on the hook for another $10MM+.
  • Despite using the seventh overall pick on Lauri Markkanen, a stretch four, the Bulls intend to re-sign Nikola Mirotic as a restricted free agent, Paxson said (Twitter link via K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune).
  • Although he won’t be thrilled to see Butler depart, Dwyane Wade is still picking up his player option for 2017/18, as Vincent Goodwill of CSNChicago.com tweets. Paxson suggested on Thursday night that if Wade had serious concerns about the team’s direction, he might not have exercised that option (Twitter link via Sam Smith of Bulls.com).
  • The Bulls believe newly-acquired Zach LaVine is ahead of schedule in his rehab from an ACL tear, but don’t yet know when he’ll get back on the court, tweets Friedell.
  • How did Butler react to Thursday’s deal? “He’s great,” a source close to the forward tells Goodwill (Twitter link). “He’s with Thibs now.” Butler’s agent, Bernard Lee, confirmed that his client “has definitely embraced the opportunity to look forward” (Twitter link via Jon Krawczynski of The Associated Press).

Draft Night Rumors: Holiday, Smith Jr., Butler, Cavs

9:14pm: In response to Amico’s note below, Channing Frye has posted an Instagram message dismissing the idea that he’s planning to retire.

Meanwhile, Mavs president Donnie Nelson also addresses an item below, telling reporters that he thinks the Dennis Smith Jr. pick means the Mavs likely won’t target a point guard in free agency (Twitter link via Damon R. Marx of The Dallas Morning News).

8:28pm: The Mavericks may not be ready to hand their offense over to No. 9 pick Dennis Smith Jr. The team still plans to make a run at Pelicans‘ point guard Jrue Holiday once free agency begins, tweets Jonathan Givony of Draft Express. A former All-Star in Philadelphia, Holiday will be seeking a significant raise after making less than $11.3MM this season. The 27-year-old averaged 15.4 points and 7.3 assists in 67 games.

There’s more news from an eventful draft night:

  • Dallas coach Rick Carlisle offered a different perspective, posts Tim MacMahon on ESPN Now. Before being asked, Carlisle told reporters that he sees Smith as an immediate starter, noting his blend of intelligence, maturity and athleticism. “We believe he’s going to be a tremendous player for us and right away,” he said.
  • Carlisle added that the Mavs definitely preferred Smith over French point guard Frank Ntilikina, who was taken by the Knicks at No. 8. The coach said there was “uproarious” applause in the Dallas draft room when New York’s pick was announced (Twitter link).
  • In negotiations for Jimmy Butler, the Celtics refused to part with their No. 3 pick this year or the Nets‘ pick for 2018, according to K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune (Twitter link). Butler was shipped to Minnesota in a deal involving the No. 7 pick, and the Celtics may send Jayson Tatum, whom they drafted at No. 3, to Indiana in a trade for Paul George.
  • Cavaliers veterans Channing Frye and Richard Jefferson may retire this offseason, relays Sam Amico of AmicoHoops (Twitter link). If they do, it will reduce the salary commitment in Cleveland and open up two roster spots, giving the new GM some flexibility. Frye, 34, made more than $7.4MM this season, while Jefferson, who turned 37 yesterday, collected a little more than $2.6MM.

Celtics’ Paul George Talks Stalled After Gaining Momentum

8:07pm: Discussions between the Pacers and Celtics on George have stalled for now, according to Wojnarowski (via Twitter).

7:06pm: The Pacers and Celtics are engaged in “serious” discussions about a potential Paul George trade, league sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical (Twitter link). While the sides remain apart on a potential deal, talks have gained momentum, per Wojnarowski (via Twitter).

The Celtics used their third overall pick tonight to select Jayson Tatum. If the Pacers and C’s can come to an agreement on a George deal, it’s not clear whether or not Tatum will be involved in the swap.

George is one of the top trade candidates available now that Jimmy Butler is now off the board, with the Bulls having reached an agreement to send him to the Timberwolves. Before finalizing that deal, the Pacers and Wolves discussed a deal involving George, tweets Darren Wolfson of ESPN 1500 in Minneapolis. The Pacers asked for Zach LaVine and more in return, which Minnesota refused, opting for Butler instead.

The Rockets also haven’t given up their pursuit of George, tweets Marc Stein of ESPN.com. I’d expect the Lakers to check back in as well if a deal appears close.

Arthur Hill contributed to this post.

Timberwolves Remain In Mix For Jimmy Butler

The Timberwolves and Bulls have been engaged throughout the day on a potential Jimmy Butler trade, Adrian Wojnarowski and Shams Charania reported on The Vertical’s live show tonight. According to Wojnarowski, Zach LaVine and Kris Dunn are among the players that have been discussed in those talks, along with draft picks.

While any executives around the league believe the most likely scenario involves Butler staying in Chicago, those execs believe that if the All-NBA forward goes anywhere tonight, it will be Minnesota, according to Sean Deveney of The Sporting News (Twitter link).

Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders passes along an interesting note on the Timberwolves, tweeting that the NBA has confirmed Nikola Pekovic‘s 2016/17 salary is no longer on the club’s cap. That means that Minnesota has about $24MM in cap room tonight, which could be very convenient when it comes to getting a trade done — the team wouldn’t necessarily have to match salaries for incoming players.

The Celtics, Suns, Nuggets, and Cavaliers have also been linked to Butler this week, though Boston isn’t currently believed to be in the mix.

Celtics Not Currently Engaged In Jimmy Butler Talks

Trade discussions involving Jimmy Butler continue to take place, but those talks don’t include the Celtics, and haven’t “for a while,” according to Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald (Twitter link).

[RELATED: Five Key Offseason Questions: Boston Celtics]

Bulpett’s report doesn’t necessarily mean that the Celtics are out of the Butler sweepstakes entirely — if the Bulls begin to move close to a deal with another team, it’s possible they’d call Boston to see if the C’s want to make another offer. However, at this time, it appears that the Celtics aren’t actively exploring a potential Butler deal.

The Nuggets, Timberwolves, Cavaliers, and Suns are among the teams that have reportedly spoken to the Bulls about Butler. However, since the All-NBA forward still has two years left on his contract and prefers to remain in Chicago, it wouldn’t be a huge surprise if Chicago ends up not moving him tonight.

Although the Bulls are willing to make a deal if the right offer arises, the offers to this point have been “underwhelming,” sources tell K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune (Twitter link).

Trade Rumors: Nuggets, Butler, Dudley, Drummond

The Nuggets, who spoke to the Bulls at the February trade deadline about Jimmy Butler, have engaged with Chicago again as the draft approaches, a source tells Jeff Goodman of ESPN. According to Goodman, any offer Denver makes obviously wouldn’t include Nikola Jokic, but would feature multiple young players and draft picks.

Butler, of course, has reportedly indicated that he wants to remain with the Bulls. And while a fondness for Chicago and his Bulls teammates may play a part in that stance, he’s also aware that he’ll no longer be eligible for a potential Designated Veteran Extension if he’s traded. Butler would be eligible for that super-max extension if he earns an All-NBA nod next year, but only if he remains on the Bulls, which is the “real reason” he doesn’t want to be moved, tweets Chris Broussard of Fox Sports 1.

Here are a few more trade rumors from around the NBA as the draft inches closer:

  • The Suns have talked to the Pelicans about a potential Jared Dudley trade, according to John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 (Twitter link), who adds that any deal would likely involve second-round picks. New Orleans may not have the cap room to absorb Dudley’s $10MM salary outright, so the Pelicans may have to send out a contract or two in a possible swap.
  • Although there have been whispers about Sacramento’s interest in Andre Drummond, a deal between the Kings and Pistons remains unlikely at this point, tweets Sam Amick of USA Today. Vince Ellis of The Detroit Free Press adds (via Twitter) that he has been told multiple times that any Drummond trade is unlikely, though that could change.
  • Amick passes along another note on the Kings, tweeting that while Sacramento plans to use pick at No. 5, there’s a chance the team will move the No. 10 selection in order to land a player and a later pick.
  • A source tells Jason Quick of CSNNW.com (Twitter link) that there’s “no way” the Trail Blazers acquire LaMarcus Aldridge from the Spurs.

Trade Rumors: Butler, Rubio, Cavaliers

Jimmy Butler continues to be very much in demand, according to a post from Ian Begley on ESPN Now. Executives from other teams believe the Timberwolves are offering the seventh pick in tonight’s draft as part of a package to get the Bulls to re-open trade talks. Minnesota coach/executive Tom Thibodeau coached Butler in Chicago and is eager for a reunion. The Cavaliers made an unsuccessful offer for Butler, and sources relayed to ESPN.com’s Marc Stein that Butler’s preference is to stay with the Bulls. The Timberwolves are also talking to the Pacers about Paul George, Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical tweets.

There are more trade rumors as the draft draws nearer:

  • The Wolves are once again trying to find takers for Ricky Rubio, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical. Earlier reports identified the Mavericks and Knicks as teams that might have interest in the sixth-year point guard, who still has two seasons and more than $29MM left on his contract.
  • The Cavaliers are in a “holding pattern” as they await progress on several proposed trades, according to Sam Amico of AmicoHoops (Twitter link). Cleveland’s problem is a shortage of tradable assets and what insiders are describing as a “flooded market” (Twitter link).
  • Cleveland is finding that no one wants to take on the hefty contracts of Iman Shumpert, J.R. Smith or Tristan Thompson, Amico adds (Twitter link). Shumpert has two years left on his deal at a combined $21.3MM. Smith re-signed last summer and is owed more than $44MM over the next three seasons. Thompson has three years remaining at more than $52.4MM.

Cavs Rumors: George, Butler, Billups, James

While the front office is in a state of upheaval, the Cavs are continuing to work the phones to shake up the roster, as Sam Amico of AmicoHoops.net reports. With GM David Griffin out of the picture, front office holdovers Koby Altman and Mike Gansey are on the verge of making multiple trades, including a potential blockbuster, Amico continues. They are still trying to acquire Pacers All-Star forward Paul George despite George’s well-documented desire to play for the Lakers when his contract expires after next season, Amico adds.

Some other nuggets from Amico:

  • The Cavs are far apart in any talks with the Bulls to acquire All-Star Jimmy Butler but there is no traction to rumors that Cleveland players have told Butler to “stay away” from the organization.
  • Chauncey Billups has been offered the top executive position and members of the organization anticipate he’ll take the job, despite reservations about leaving ESPN. He’ll make a decision today or Friday.
  • LeBron James has been receiving updates about the team’s plans to upgrade the roster.
  • James wasn’t mad, just surprised, about owner Dan Gilbert’s inability to come to an extension agreement with Griffin.

Trade Rumors: Butler, Bledsoe, Hawks, Cavs

While the Bulls still aren’t close to moving Jimmy Butler, there appears to be more “organizational alignment” than there was last year on the idea that a rebuild is in the team’s best interest, reports K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune. Chicago’s asking price for Butler hasn’t changed, according to Johnson, who says the team would be seeking starters or rotation players, along with multiple high draft picks.

Since the Bulls would like to land a high pick in Thursday’s draft if they move Butler, the Celtics (No. 3), Suns (No. 4), and Timberwolves (No. 7) would make sense as trade partners. However, as Johnson details, the Bulls have received the impression that Boston plans to use the third overall pick, and Minnesota’s seventh overall pick likely wouldn’t put Chicago in position to nab one of the top prospects they like, such as De’Aaron Fox or Josh Jackson.

Here are more trade rumors from around the league, including notes on Chicago’s other potential trade partner, the Suns:

  • The Suns have explored the possibility of trading their No. 4 overall pick in a deal for a star, having looked into players like Butler, Paul George, and Kristaps Porzingis, Adrian Wojnarowski noted during The Vertical’s live show on Wednesday night. Sources tell K.C. Johnson that Phoenix is also looking to include Eric Bledsoe, who has two years left on his contract, in any major trade package.
  • On The Vertical’s live show, Wojnarowski identified the Hawks as a team to watch on the trade market, suggesting that new GM Travis Schlenk may be looking to cut costs as he retools the roster. Kent Bazemore could be a trade candidate in Atlanta, per Wojnarowski.
  • Even without a GM in place, the Cavaliers continued to work “furiously” on Wednesday pursuing trade possibilities, writes Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com. It appears the Cavs and Chauncey Billups are close to reach an agreement that would add him to their front office, but the team is more focused on working the trade market, and will continue trying to find a deal on Thursday.
  • Within a larger piece about the draft, Ryan Wolstat of The Toronto Sun suggests the Raptors are confident about their chances to re-sign Serge Ibaka in free agency, which could make Jonas Valanciunas expendable in the right deal.
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