As the regular season is nearing an end, postseason hopes are becoming unlikely for the Chicago Bulls. However, ongoing rumors surrounding three-time NBA All-Star Jimmy Butler, have heated up once again.
The Bulls have much uncertainty regarding the organization’s future, and for what’s been an exasperating season (35-39), they’re on the verge of missing the postseason for the second consecutive year. While it doesn’t end there, this may very well be the end for the team’s best player.
Kevin O’Connor reported that a Bulls executive, or rather a front office member, has stated that the three-time All-Star is “as good as gone” in Chicago.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) March 30, 2017
This season, Butler is averaging 23.5 points, 6.2 rebounds, 5.5 assists (all career-highs), and 1.9 steals through 68 games. And as a player who was selected 30th overall in the 2011 NBA Draft (Marquette), Butler has come a long way to now a household name in Chicago.
During his rookie year, Jimmy only played in 8.5 minutes, and averaged 2.6 points. As the years went on, former Bulls Coach Tom Thibodeau gradually brought him into the rotation, and Butler began to thrive in his role. Now as one of the league’s best young players, the 27 year-old will likely be on the outs with the team who virtually gave him an opportunity to become an elite player.
With the ongoing events of former Bulls MVP Derrick Rose, Chicago made it official to keep Butler long-term, signing him to a five-year, $95,000,000 deal in July of 2015. This was ultimately the final run for Rose, as he was traded to the New York Knicks. It also followed with former Bulls Defensive Player of the Year Joakim Noah to sign with New York in the same summer.
And with Butler now being the Bulls’ go-to option, he hasn’t disappointed at all. If anything, the Bulls organization has disappointed him. After failing to sign any legitimate talent outside of veterans Dwyane Wade and Rajon Rondo, Chicago is lacking a legitimate supporting cast.
If the Bulls are willing to trade Butler this offseason, they could get a great return, as he’s a viable asset for teams to have interest in. Many were left disappointed at the trade-deadline once Chicago opted to not trade Butler, but it was for great reasoning. The Bulls were still in the playoff picture, and were refusing to give up their best talent.
Butler will be guaranteed to make over $36.2 million in the 2017-18 and the 2018-19 seasons. He’ll also have a player option at the end of his contract.