Could Jimmy Butler be headed to L.A. in exchange for D’Angelo Russell?
Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports
There’s a scenario in play that suggests the Chicago Bulls could move All-Star guard Jimmy Butler this upcoming summer. He was bandied about as bait during February’s trade deadline. But in the end, Chicago decided to keep its star guard en route to earning a trip to the playoffs.
Now that an otherwise disappointing 2016-17 season has come to a conclusion, it looks like Butler himself wants to know what the Bulls’ plans are before deciding whether to stick around.
Butler is set to meet with Chicago’s brass to discuss what the team is looking to do this summer. Per the report, Butler wants “all the cards to be on the table” during said meeting.
There were in-season rumors linking Butler to the Boston Celtics. Those might be ratcheted up a bit more now that Boston earned the No. 1 pick (via Brooklyn) in the 2017 NBA Draft on Tuesday.
For his part, Butler doesn’t have a huge amount of leverage should he decide he wants out of Dodge. The 27-year-old guard signed a five-year extension with Chicago back in July of 2015. He can’t opt out of said contract until following the 2019-20 campaign.
Even then, Butler can force the Bulls’ hand here. There’s no reason to believe the team would continue to employ a malcontent as it looks to build a foundation for the future.
Complicating things a bit further here, Dwyane Wade can (and likely will) opt out of his contract this summer. With no other real building blocks on the roster, Chicago might want to move on from Butler as a way to start a complete rebuild.
Butler is coming off a 2016-17 campaign that saw him average 23.9 points, 6.2 rebounds and 5.5 assists per game. Should he be placed on the trade block, there would surely be interest in the guard’s services.
Interestingly enough, the Lakers could join Boston pursuit of Butler. Now in the chief decision-making role with Los Angeles, Magic Johnson will be looking to make a splash. His team boasts the No. 2 overall pick in the draft and the Bulls reportedly could show interest in D’Angelo Russell. Remember, Butler himself had been linked to the Lakers in the past as well.
Even as the NBA Playoffs reach a conclusion here soon, this is most definitely something to keep an eye on behind the scenes. It could shape how the offseason plays out for multiple big-market teams.