Bulls remain unlikely to trade Jimmy Butler despite speculation

April 21, 2017 - Chicago, IL, USA - The Chicago Bulls' Jimmy Butler (21) walks to the locker room after a 104-87 loss against the Boston Celtics in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals at the United Center in Chicago on Friday, April 21, 2017. The loss trimmed the Bulls series lead to 2-1 (Photo by Terrence Antonio James/Zuma Press/Icon Sportswire)
Terrence Antonio James/Zuma Press/Icon Sportswire

The Chicago Bulls remain unlikely to trade star wing Jimmy Butler, according to K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune.

Speculation has risen that the Boston Celtics will make a strong push for Butler after agreeing to trade the No. 1 overall pick of the draft to the Philadelphia 76ers for the No. 3 selection and a future first-rounder, but Johnson says it is more “speculation than reality” at this point.

At least three executives don’t expect the Bulls’ stance to change by NBA Draft night on Thursday.

Butler-to-Boston rumors have persisted since last season, but with Butler not up for free agency until 2019, Chicago is in no rush to trade its best player, especially considering that Butler is on a bargain contract that will only pay him in the neighborhood of $35 million over the final two years of his deal.

The Celtics and Bulls briefly re-engaged in Butler trade talks around the February trade deadline, but Johnson says those discussions were “far less serious” than those held at the time of the draft last June.

Johnson also states that there have been no new offers from Boston for Butler.

The 27-year-old Butler averaged 23.9 points, 6.2 rebounds and 5.5 assists per game while shooting 45.5 percent from the floor and 36.7 percent from three-point range in what was the best season of his career last year.

Butler and the Bulls ultimately fell to the Celtics in six games in the first round of the playoffs despite taking the first two games of the series on the road.

Butler has made three straight All-Star teams.

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