Nick Friedell: Jimmy Butler, on if he's surprised management has never done that: "Nothing surprises me nowadays. I'm not surprised by anything ... Anything's possible. It's a business at the end of the day. I love it here. [The front office] knows that, the city knows that."
KC Johnson: Butler/Hoiberg asked whether Bulls should be buyers/sellers at trade deadline. Jimmy Butler: "I’m good. I’ll stay in my lane, play basketball."
Several executives who spoke to HoopsHype predicted that the Boston Celtics and Chicago Bulls will reopen Jimmy Butler trade talks as the deadline gets closer.
With that said, one executive pointed out that the Bulls can be tough to negotiate with, add that if Chicago does decide make a trade, they would likely wait until just before the deadline to complete the deal. Another league source speculated that moving a face-of-the-franchise like Butler seems more like an offseason move than a mid-season one, but did add that a trade could happen if the right offer came along.
Butler, sources said, is a favorite of team President Michael Reinsdorf. The Tribune reported in June that ownership at the time wanted to avoid a full rebuild, having lived through the post-dynasty era. Whether that stance will change is unknown. Butler was asked Wednesday about his relationship with management. "It's good. They're my bosses," Butler said. "We talk like men if I have a problem. If they have a problem, we talk like we're supposed to. It's very professional."
Bulls sources said recently that the team is at something of a crossroads, admitting that many of the young players the team had hoped could grow into the support players around Butler, frankly, have not been equal to the task. When you combine that with recent outbursts from both Butler and Dwyane Wade in the media about the work ethic of some of the Bulls’ younger players, there is a growing sense among league insiders that cashing Butler out might be the best course for the future.
Late last week, a league source suggested Butler did not appear to be on the trade market --yet. But you can be sure the Celtics are monitoring the situation closely. We're only seven months removed from serious draft-night discussions between the Celtics and Bulls, and Chicago's season is threatening to spin out of control.
There are rival executives who believe the Bulls and Celtics will rekindle trade talks centered on Jimmy Butler before the Feb. 23 deadline. The teams held serious talks in June, and the Celtics own the same assets — Jae Crowder, Marcus Smart, the Nets' first-round picks in 2017 and 2018 — the teams discussed then.
Teams have inquired about Butler's price tag this season in the type of talks that take place all the time throughout the league. Executives from two other teams said last month they were given the impression that Butler isn't available for now. It's unlikely that changes by the Feb. 23 trade deadline, which comes four days after Butler's third straight All-Star Game, although non-efforts like Friday night's loss at Atlanta give pause. This offseason will bring more inquiries.
Horace Grant, who serves as special advisor to president and chief operating officer Michael Reinsdorf, says Chicago doesn’t need any drastic moves to reach the postseason. In a video posted on CSNChicago, the former Bull says the team just needs its key players to stay healthy. “I wouldn’t worry about trading anyone,” Grant said. “I wouldn’t worry about trading Jimmy or anything. I will find a way with the pieces that we have now, which I sincerely think that we’re going to make the playoffs, that we’re going to make a push.”
Sources told ESPN that there continues to be debate within the organization about whether to press the button on a full-scale rebuild, and the 35-year-old Wade doesn't sound like a man who wants to go through that at this stage of his career.
"At the end of the year, you sit back and see what the team is, what direction they're going in," Wade told ESPN on Wednesday night. "I would be a liar to say that I want to play on a team with all 21-year-olds. You know what I mean? And be a part of the future building. I would be a fool to say that. But you also want to be in the best position for what you think is for you at that time, too.
"... One of the main reasons I'm here is Jimmy. He's the one who called me and got me to come here. So that's a big part of my decision and everything else, is what Jimmy's doing, what his future looks like and all that. And I've made it very clear. So I have no idea from that standpoint. You just have to wait and see and then see what works out."
Sources with knowledge of the Bulls' thinking emphatically deny the notion that All-Star swingman Jimmy Butler is available.
The Timberwolves explored several trade options in June, including for Chicago star Jimmy Butler, but Thibodeau, also Minnesota’s president of basketball operations, now sounds as committed as anyone in the franchise to his young trio. Outside the organization, executives wonder about Minnesota’s inclination to keep all three. But within the franchise, there is no question: management and owner Glen Taylor will do whatever it takes financially in order to win. “I love our core three guys, and what I love most is their work ethic, their dedication to work,” Thibodeau said. “They understand the level we need to reach, particularly defensively, and their work shows that they will work to get it right. We understand that it’s going to take some time and we need to work at it each and every day.”
But make no mistake: Following the Derrick Rose trade, the internal draft-night debate on whether to trade Butler to the Celtics was real. And the Bulls, according to multiple sources at the time, held advanced discussions with the Celtics centered on Butler and the No. 3 overall pick.
Ric Bucher of Bleacher Report: "Tom Thibodeau is not exactly a paragon of patience, which is why league sources expect that he is only a few more losses away from dealing one of his young stars for a veteran who can help him win now. His first look will be for a player he already knows and trusts because he’s already had that player in his system. Would the Lakers consider advancing their youth movement and dealing former Bull Luol Deng? Would the Bulls consider parting with Jimmy Butler or Taj Gibson? Where Thibs looks is not certain, nor is who he’d be willing to move. But those in the league who know his hunger to win and win now are convinced he will begin calling around soon, if he hasn’t already."
A league source with knowledge of the situation indicated to me that Chicago also demanded an additional starter-level player in the deal. It’s unclear what was and wasn’t discussed exactly, but what we do know is that the Bulls weren’t prepared to go full-rebuild (though that could change by the trade deadline). “We’re trying to find deals. And sometimes you have to make small deals in order to be able to have big deals,” Ainge said. “You have to put yourself in position with good young players and good contracts and future assets. It puts us in the game if there’s a player that becomes available in the trade market, but they have to like those young players and assets,” Ainge said.
And he didn’t think too much into draft night back in June, as the Bulls were in heated discussions to try and land highly coveted guard Kris Dunn, reportedly using Butler to do so. “It’s not their job to report anything to me,’’ Butler said of general manager Gar Forman and VP of basketball operations John Paxson. “I’m a big boy. I don’t need you to tell me, ‘No, you’re not going to be traded.’ I know it’s a business and if it happens it happens, but I’m here. “I don’t pay attention to it. I was in the gym working out during the draft. My phone was blowing up, but what can I do? I can go in the office and be like, ‘Hey please don’t trade me?’ If they were going to do that, that’s on them not me.’’
To give up a key player, a team is essentially saying it’s taking a deeper rebuilding route. Chicago was looking at that option when it held serious talks with the Celts prior to the draft about Jimmy Butler. According to agents with interest in the matter, the asking price for the 26-year-old scorer was very high, and the C’s got protective at a certain point.
The initial key for the Bulls was the third overall pick from last month’s draft and the ability to select Providence guard Kris Dunn. The aforementioned sources added that the Celtics were willing to add one player from their rotation when Chicago wanted a second. “Another sticking point in that and in other deals Boston is talking about is that pick from the Nets next year,” said one of these sources. “Danny will make it available in the right situation, but he’s not going to give it up with core players, too. That’s going to be a good draft, and that’s going to be a high pick.
There is strong evidence the Celtics could have made a trade for Butler, but neither side felt what was being offered by the other was worth doing. If it had simply been a matter of getting Butler to get Durant, the C’s would have overpaid and done it. But that’s where the story changes. According to sources close to Durant, one of the things that interested the former league MVP about the Celts, as we’ve stated before, is the core that has been gathered. He was very interested in playing with a cohesive and complementary unit, which is what he is getting in Golden State.
The Bulls have talent. The front-court is well-stocked with good players, including Cristiano Felicio, a rugged and bouncy prospect the team adores. There just doesn't appear to be a real plan beyond buying time. Butler is off the market for now, per league sources, and it's tempting to read Chicago's all-in splash as an effort to maintain a winner around him.
But all those questions can be pushed away for another day, as far as the Bulls are concerned. Two weeks ago they were headed in one direction, with a strong belief among some both in the organization and around the league that the Bulls would move Butler if a team offered up the right young pieces. Now, the Bulls are on a far different course with a different plan.
Sources are telling us that the C’s are still holding the line on their offers from prior to the draft. They will make trades if teams come around to their price. Jimmy Butler and Jahlil Okafor are said to be still available, but getting them now won’t be as easy as on draft night when Chicago and Philadelphia, respectively, both coveted the No. 3 overall pick so they could take Providence’s Kris Dunn.
There are indications the Celtics may still be able to do business with the Bulls and 76ers, but both sides will have to get creative. As it stands, the word is the Celts are looking at a core that will grow to nine with Horford. Also in the group are Thomas, Avery Bradley, Jae Crowder, Marcus Smart, Kelly Olynyk, Terry Rozier, Jordan Mickey and Jaylen Brown.
Nick Friedell: Jimmy Butler, on if he's certain he'll be with the Bulls next season: "I don't think anything is for certain. I really don't. I love the city of Chicago, Chicago basketball, I think everybody knows that. They drafted me I've been here my entire career. Nothing is for certain."
Nick Friedell: Jimmy Butler was a guest on The Jump today. He discussed his reaction to the Derrick Rose trade, saying in part: "I can't say that I was surprised but I knew that it had to be one of us to tell you the truth."
Marc Stein on Jimmy Butler: I don't think the Bulls want to trade him. (...) Boston and Minnesota were definitely trying to get him, and I think that's the case and I think it will continue to be the case. (...) But Danny Ainge is involved, so is he ever going to stop trying to get him? Probably not.
The Bulls held advanced discussions with the Celtics centered on Butler and the No. 3 pick, with whom they would've selected Providence guard Kris Dunn, league sources said. Several proposals were exchanged, including one with Jae Crowder and the Celtics' No. 3 and No. 16 picks, league sources said.
The Minnesota Timberwolves aggressively pursued a trade for All-Star guard Jimmy Butler on Thursday night after drafting Kris Dunn, but the talks ultimately fizzled after some initial optimism that a deal could be struck, according to league sources. Sources told ESPN.com that the Timberwolves drafted Dunn, after the Providence guard unexpectedly lasted until the fifth pick, then pushed hard to see if they could hammer out a trade with the Bulls, who are also known to be big fans of Dunn.
But the Bulls, sources say, ultimately decided not to go ahead with a deal in which they'd be forced to surrender Butler, just one day after completing a blockbuster trade with New York that sent Derrick Rose to the Knicks.
“During the draft, we started getting some texts and saw something on TV that we were in heated talks with somebody, I don’t know what it was saying,” Forman said. “We were in no talks with anybody. There was no discussion during the entire draft this evening as far as Jimmy Butler was concerned. “We have never made a call in regards to Jimmy Butler. We’ve talked about, we value Jimmy Butler, we’re very happy to have Jimmy Butler. We’ve got a phenomenal basketball player who was an All-Star and All-NBA defender, is still young, obviously we’ve got him under contract long-term, those are all positive. He, again, is what we want to be. We’ve said this all along. We like Jimmy Butler, we did not shop Jimmy Butler. Did we receive calls? Of course we did, and that’s our job to listen to calls. We get calls on a lot of our players and that’s stuff that happens all throughout the league.”
KC Johnson: The Bulls' talks to acquire Kris Dunn were more serious with the Celtics than the Timberwolves, per source.
David Aldridge: FWIW, told strongly in the last 2 minutes there is “no chance” of a Bulls-Wolves trade involving Jimmy Butler. Stay by your devices, tho.
Sam Amick: Been hearing the same. - RT: David Aldridge: FWIW, told strongly in the last 2 minutes there is “no chance” of a Bulls-Wolves trade involving Jimmy Butler. Stay by your devices, tho.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Minnesota and Chicago still in serious talks on a Jimmy Butler deal centered on fifth pick Kris Dunn, league sources tell @The Vertical
Shams Charania: Vertical Sources: Chicago and Minnesota talks for Jimmy Butler broke down. Bulls wanted Zach LaVine, not Ricky Rubio. Chicago wanted Zach LaVine and the No. 5 pick, Kris Dunn, sources tell The Vertical.
Nick Friedell: Bulls have made it clear throughout league that they expect to get a serious haul in return for any potential deal for Jimmy Butler. Picks and young, controllable assets. They didn't feel a potential Boston deal was strong enough.
David Aldridge: FWIW, Kris Dunn’s camp believes Boston won’t do the deal with Philly, keep the pick and take Dunn #3. But Bulls still in the mix.
KC Johnson: Avery Bradley also has been discussed in one permutation of Bulls-Celtics talks, per source.
Marc Stein: And ESPN sources say that Boston has been holding out all day for a better offer; Chicago's Jimmy Butler has been HIGH on the Celts' list
Adrian Wojnarowski: Chicago, Boston still talking about a Jimmy Butler trade, league sources tell @The Vertical.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Sources: Boston is engaged with the Bulls and Sixers as Celtics inch closer to going on the clock at No. 3, league sources said.
The Boston Celtics have been pursuing a number of established veterans in the buildup to Thursday's NBA draft, offering trade packages built around the No. 3 overall pick, according to league sources. But sources told ESPN that the Celtics, to date, have been rebuffed in their efforts to assemble a sufficiently enticing deal to acquire any of these four prime targets: Chicago Bulls All-Star swingman Jimmy Butler, Utah Jazz guard Gordon Hayward and Milwaukee Bucks teammates Jabari Parker or Khris Middleton.
The Bulls, sources say, continue to show little interest in dealing Butler to the Celtics, who previously tried to trade for him before the league's annual deadline in February.
"Trust me, I get enough on my Instagram and Twitter about going to Boston," Butler said. "But the funniest part about it is everybody's like, 'Jimmy, don't leave Chicago.' I literally, I don't control that. It's not like I'm a free agent. I can't do anything about that. And so people get mad: 'Oh, we hate you. You want to leave.' I never once said that. There's absolutely nothing that I can do. Literally the only way is if I got traded."
Butler ended up going to the Chicago Bulls at the end of the first round, but told Simmons he was surprised Boston didn't select him. "What's crazy is I thought I was going to end up with y'all (the Celtics)," Jimmy Butler said on the podcast. "Doc (Rivers) being from Marquette, I (was) ready. But I'm not mad. I went 30th to Chicago and it's a good place for me right now."
There is little doubt that sounds attractive to the Timberwolves. But, as the report points out, the Bulls are not actively considering trading Butler – at least not yet. League sources in Italy say the Bulls are actively open to moving guard Derrick Rose and that seems to be the first choice rather than shopping Butler.
The Boston Celtics, who hold the No. 3 overall pick, are also known to have trade interest in Butler, while sources say that the Bulls are highly intrigued by Providence guard Kris Dunn, who is projected to be selected in the 3-to-5 range in the June 23 draft.
Sources say that the Bulls naturally would demand a significant amount in return to part with Butler, which likely translates to at least one front-line player in addition to a top lottery pick this month.
Mannix's analysis Tuesday night on CSNNE was more sobering. Because they didn't jump into the top two, the Celtics could have a much tougher time targeting a star while keeping most of their core (and/or future draft picks) together. Mannix did say he believes Jimmy Butler could be available for the right price, but cautioned stars won't come cheap. "If Boston does want to get in the mix for one of the premier players that could be available on the trade market, there is going to be a very rich price," Mannix said. "It's going to be that No. 3 overall pick plus a couple of extra players that are going to make it unpalatable for the Celtics to want to swallow that type of deal."
Butler spoke publicly for the first time since Forman said "we have to explore all options" when asked directly if Butler is a franchise centerpiece. The comment irked Butler, although sources said the Bulls have no plans to trade the two-time All-Star. "I didn't do my job, so I guess everything is on the table," Butler said. "If I help us win games and get us in the playoffs and put us in a position to win a championship, he wouldn't say it. So I'm not mad at (Forman). He's doing his job."
It might be time to hold off on those Jimmy Butler trade rumors. In a sign of commitment not present at management's season-ending postmortem, the Bulls have asked their two-time All-Star to represent the franchise on the dais at the May 17 NBA draft lottery, sources said.
That's why, despite Forman saying last month "we have to explore all options" when asked directly about committing to Butler as a franchise centerpiece, it still would be a surprise if the Bulls traded their two-time All-Star. That comment didn't sit well with Butler, sources said, merely adding to his growing wariness regarding Forman that stems from Butler feeling slighted during failed negotiations on his rookie extension. Butler ultimately rejected the Bulls' four-year, $44 million offer, won Most Improved Player honors for 2014-15 and signed a five-year, $92.3 million deal with a player option for the final season last July.
Butler's contract has a 5 percent trade kicker, sources said. The norm for similarly lucrative contracts for high-profile players is 15 percent, which is one reason considerable chatter remains throughout the league that teams could make a run at Butler near the June 23 NBA draft.
But in the Bulls' early organizational meetings to shape offseason strategy, little changed from the February trade deadline regarding Butler, sources said. That means it would take a significant offer involving at least one high-profile player and multiple first-round picks to pry him loose.
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 that might be a stretch,” the source indicated.
William Justin Carr: Any sense if Bulls Brass would be willing in trading Butler to same conf Celtics? Crowder &a top 2 pick via Nets pick enough? Steve Kyler: I have been told flatly, Bulls not looking to trade Butler. So you can call, they will listen. But not shopping him.
"That's why I'm here," Butler told ESPN.com after Thursday night's 103-100 win over the Houston Rockets. "I don't plan on going anywhere. I can't control what everybody else does. I know that this is the city that I love, Chicago. And I want to wear that jersey. I want to wear that name on the front, and I wear it proudly. All I got to do is continue to control what I can control. That's try to help this team win games."
"To tell you the truth, I don't pay attention to the rumors," Butler said. "Somebody sent [the story] to me today, and I just clicked off of it. I mean, why am I getting in [to the speculation]? I can't control it. I can't say don't do this or don't do that. That's not my job. If I do what I'm supposed to do on the floor, then everything else takes care of itself. I'm a firm believer in that."
There's also a feeling among some in the organization that Butler's All-Star personality has changed over the last year as his game developed and he signed a big contract. Butler rubbed some of his veteran teammates the wrong way earlier in the season by trying to assert himself as more of the vocal leader and face of the Bulls.
Indeed, no one is untouchable. The palace intrigue that surrounded Butler and Hoiberg prompted several teams to inquire about Butler’s availability at the trade deadline. Though they were rebuffed, several rival executives told The Vertical they intend to try again. Boston was among the teams trying to pry away Butler in February, and several executives point to Orlando, with its treasure trove of young players and defensive-minded head coach, as a team to watch closely in the pursuit of Butler.
Ron Albright: Steve, how accurate were the reports that Chicago offered Butler to Orlando this past deadline, and Orlando said no? - Steve Kyler: I never like to dispute someone elses reporting, but Bulls and Magic sources said conversation never happened.
KC Johnson: Per that Boston Herald report that the Celtics targeted Jimmy Butler, told offer was of lowball variety and talks didn't advance. To be clear, @Steve Bulpett report made clear talks underscored Celtics' mindset to shoot for stars with picks/plyrs. Bulls just not interested
A number of names were linked to the Celtics during that time — Blake Griffin, Kevin Love and Jahlil Okafor being among the most prominent players identified in the Herald as targets of the club. And then there is the NBA executive who, characterizing the Celts’ hunt, was quoted here as saying, “It’s like they took the All-Star roster and used it as Match.com.” One of those stars whose profile intrigued the Celtics didn’t get to play in that game because of a strained knee. It’s been said that Chicago’s Jimmy Butler would be a good fit here, but multiple sources are telling the Herald that the Celts did, in fact, make a strong move for the 6-foot-7 wing.
According to one source that had at least one player who could have been involved in the potential transaction, the Celtics were willing to give up two first-round draft picks this year — the unprotected pick from the Nets and Dallas’ choice, which is protected 1-through-7. There are differing reports on what players were offered, requested and denied and how far the talks got, but the bottom line is that there was no fit for the Celtics and Bulls at this time.
“The term I’ve heard with Danny is that he’s looking for a ‘difference maker,’” said one league source. “He’s definitely willing to pay you for the right guy, but he wants someone who can move them to the next level.”
September 22, 2021 | 11:13 pm EDT Update
Gersson Rosas’ dismissal just days before the Minnesota Timberwolves opened training camp is stunning on its face, a change at the top of basketball operations as the team begins a critical season and is in discussions to try to trade for a disgruntled star to bolster its chances.
It is also the culmination of months of evaluation by ownership and the franchise’s high-ranking officials about the state of Rosas’ leadership and the direction of the franchise under his watch. Ownership has listened to a vocal contingent of staffers express concern about the way Rosas conducted his business, sources told The Athletic, and finally came to the conclusion that they could not wait any longer to address the situation.
Rosas’ reign was described as dysfunctional, with tension rippling through the front office, according to some sources. Outside of it, rival team executives and agents would complain about how Rosas treated relationships and negotiations. The complaints reached as high as the ownership level over the last several weeks, lending a perception of inevitability to the end of Rosas’ tenure.
Sources said Taylor made the 90-minute drive from Mankato to team headquarters in Minneapolis to take part in the meeting with Rosas personally on Wednesday, notable for an owner who has in the past sometimes left moves like this to those who work underneath him. Text messages were left by The Athletic for Rosas seeking comment that have not yet been returned. The Athletic also reached out to Taylor for further comment.
The Timberwolves named executive vice president of basketball operations Sachin Gupta as their new overseer of basketball operations, making him the first person of Indian origin to run a franchise’s basketball operations. Minnesota is expected to have a full search process, but team officials are fond of Gupta and will provide him a chance in the No. 1 role, sources said.
Prior to the announcement, The Athletic had spent the last several weeks investigating the working environment under Rosas and interviewed numerous sources on the current staff about the situation after learning of mounting discontent. Some said Rosas worked his staff long hours without giving much input into the decision-making process. Others took issue with decisions made on personnel moves and trades, including the light protections on a first-round draft pick that landed them D’Angelo Russell from Golden State, Rosas’ signature move.
Some of the issues were exacerbated this summer when Rosas and Gupta butted heads over Rosas’ decision to block Gupta from making a lateral move to the Houston Rockets with increased pay, sources said. Rosas said the timing of the request, coming right before the draft and free agency, made it impossible for the Timberwolves to let someone with as much proprietary knowledge of the team’s plans go to a competitor. The tension between Rosas and Gupta only grew later in August when Rosas banished Gupta from the team’s offices and granted him permission to seek employment elsewhere, according to sources. The issue was resolved in early September after ownership got involved and Gupta decided to stay.
One person who said he had no qualms with how Rosas led and thought there was a collaborative environment did say that the overall vibe in the front office was tense. Some of that, he believed, was due to the disenchantment of other members of the staff, but he also believed the pandemic played a role. “It is not a root cause, but it’s an accelerant,” the source said in August just before the staff left for vacation. “It’s not the spark that lit the flame, but it’s something that makes the flame burn hotter. We haven’t had a day off in basically two years.”