If you’re a Chicago Bulls fan, next season is not looking all that hopeful. But All-Star shooting guard Jimmy Butler could inject some enthusiasm into the fanbase, not as a player, but as a trade chip.
We need an honest assessment here. Here are some hard truths:
- The Bulls, as constructed, are not going to win a title
- The best players on their current roster don’t complement coach Fred Hoiberg’s style.
- The veteran team doesn’t seem to respect Hoiberg’s system or want to play it.
- Gar Froman and John Paxson aren’t going anywhere, regardless of how bad they might be at their jobs.
- Because of Forman and Paxson, the Bulls are not attractive to free agents (not even attractive enough to sign a second-tier star like they did with Carlos Boozer or Pau Gasol)
- Their two stars don’t seem to like one another.
- Joakim Noah and Pau Gasol are likely headed out.
In other words, the Bulls are a giant, heaping, steaming pile of doo-doo with a future that looks like a dystopian teen-angst trilogy.
Sure “next year” the Bulls might stay healthy. But the Cubs will win a World Series before this lot manages to make it through a season without having half the roster out for half the games.
Maybe it’s just time to reboot the whole blasted thing, and maybe trading Butler is the best way to do that.
Reports have surfaced that former Bulls coach, now with the Minnesota Timberwolves, as reported by Chad Ford and Marc Stein of ESPN:
The Minnesota Timberwolves are prepared to part with the No. 5 overall pick in this month’s draft, as the centerpiece of a trade package, if they can use it to construct a deal for Chicago Bulls star swingman Jimmy Butler, according to league sources.
Our own Morten Jensen shared his thoughts on that.
And CSNNE’s A. Sherrod Blakely reported:
A league source tells CSNNE.com that the Bulls, while still open to listening to offers for Butler, are telling teams that are inquiring about his availability that their plan for now is to keep him in the fold.
And while there was some thought that a top-3 pick coupled with a few decent players might be enough to entice the Bulls to pull the trigger on a deal to trade Butler, CSNNE.com has been told such an offer would have to include at least one “legitimate, NBA starter” for the Bulls to even possibly consider trading him.
And Matthew Schmidt considered that from the Celtics’ angle.
But it’s the two together that makes things interesting, far more interesting in fact than if just one team or the other were inquiring. That’s because both teams are rich in assets.
In addition to the No. 5 pick, the T-Wolves have young stars Zach LaVine or Andrew Wiggins, who could be paired with the No. 5 pick. Defensive presence, Gorgui Dieng is a potential piece to include.
For the Celtics, the offer could include someone like Avery Bradley or Marcus Smart and even a big, such as Kelly Olynyk. Or, perhaps the swap rights with the Brooklyn Nets next season.
The Bulls are in the perfect situation here. They’re not looking to sell, but you have two of the three most asset-rich teams in the league looking to buy.
Let them try and outbid one another against a team not forced to choose. I’m not looking to sell my house, but if Mark Cuban and Steve Balmer started trying to buy it, I’d have no problem with my own private auction. I’d sell it for a lot more than it’s worth.
A bidding war drives up Butler’s value.
And it brightens Chicago’s future.
Adding a veritable cornucopia of young talent built to play in Hoiberg’s system could be what the team needs. An enthusiastic team, happy to play under Hoiberg, with the skills needed to thrive in his system seems the far better way to go here than repeatedly running into the same wall, hoping that this time we’ll break though.
Sure, maybe the Bulls have to take a step back. But with Derrick Rose’s contract expiring next year, the chance of getting another lottery pick, adding the Sacramento Kings’ pick (finally) and having a ton of money to spend in free agency, all while developing their newly acquired young players, they take two steps forward next year.
And at the very least, there would be something to hope for, other than inevitable doom of another second-round oustering.