Brian Windhorst says the Bulls are telling other teams …

More on Jimmy Butler Trade?

A deal for Butler now seems unlikely, unless the Bulls are posturing. There is some debate over whether Boston did or did not ever include the 2017 Nets pick in an official offer, but they'd have to for Chicago to really engage. Perhaps clarity will come at the lottery, after Chicago sees how far Butler can take their current team and everyone knows where Boston will pick.
Of course, even if the Bulls were to reach an organizational consensus on trading Butler before Thursday, it takes two to tango. And league sources indicated the Celtics have been underwhelmed by all preliminary offers for their main future assets — the Nets' 2017 and 2018 first-round picks. The former could be the top pick in a strong draft.
Butler’s name has been rumored in trade talk, though there hasn’t seemed like any serious discussions. “I never know what tomorrow brings, so I’ll just lay down, dream and hopefully wake up the next day,” said a contemplative Butler looking forward to his shorter All-Star break. “Am I anxious for (Thursday)? I don’t worry about that; I’ll be OK. Not saying I’m untradeable, but I don’t think about that. If I’m not in a Bulls uniform, I’ll give you (reporter) a hug and say goodbye to you. Hopefully I’m not going to die, but hopefully I’m not going to get traded, either. I won’t know. I don’t control that. Control what I can control, like going on vacation.”
Chicago’s Jimmy Butler, Indiana’s Paul George and Sacramento’s DeMarcus Cousins are three players who on paper at least, would meet that criteria. Multiple league sources this weekend confirmed that each of their respective teams isn’t making a push to trade them. But like every team in the league, they will certainly listen to any and all offers. Only Indiana and Sacramento have come out publicly to say they are not planning to trade their players, with the Pacers indicating they’re willing to give up their first-round pick in order to add a stable, proven talent to the mix in order to help George going forward.
Meanwhile, the Bulls have been somewhat indifferent to potentially moving Butler, who is playing his third all-star game tonight. That’s why several teams, the Celtics included, have inquired about Butler’s availability. While the Bulls haven’t set any specific parameters, league executives believe they are seeking some combination of high draft picks and young veterans (players with experience who are either near the end of their rookie deals or have team-friendly contracts) just to consider moving Butler.
That more than anything else, is what will ultimately determine if a deal between the Bulls and the Celtics comes to pass. Boston loves Butler, and believes he could be part of their continued surge towards becoming an elite team that can bring home Banner 18. But the Celtics are not convinced that the addition of Butler would necessarily catapult Boston to the same level of Cleveland or ahead of them.
There have been tepid discussions about Butler-to-the-Celtics at various times over the past year, though nothing pressing in recent weeks, according to league sources. It’s safe to assume that there will be renewed talks this week. But that does not mean a deal will get done, not with both sides tentative about the wisdom of a trade that the rest of the NBA’s observer class seems to think is such an obvious fit.
League sources told SN this weekend that the Bulls are still very much uncertain of the direction they want to take this season. Rebuilding makes the most sense — the decision to sign veterans Rajon Rondo and Dwyane Wade last summer was a mistake — but the Bulls are still very much in position to make the playoffs in the East.
Adrian Wojnarowski: The potential of a Boston, Chicago deal for Jimmy Butler would loom over the entire week. These teams have engaged on the potential of this trade, they have not gotten far down the road on it. There still need to be an alignment within the Bulls’ organization from ownership to management that they want to make the decision to enter a full rebuild.
Adrian Wojnarowski: The fact that the Celtics swap with Brooklyn this year, they have their pick which could be potentially a Top-3 pick and they have the Brooklyn’s pick outright next year. Either one of those picks, I don’t think Chicago can get both of them, that’s the beginning point of a deal for the Bulls for Jimmy Butler.
Fans got the chance to hear straight from the Bull’s mouth who he’d most like to play with on ESPN’s First Take. “I’d probably have to go with my favorite player who’s not myself and that’s Kyrie,” Butler said. “I love Kyrie’s game man, and he’s a really good dude.”
A better question might be this: Should Butler want the Bulls to trade him? A source close to Butler said the swingman doesn't want that outcome. He is grounded in Chicago, according to the source, and would loathe to leave with unfinished business. Superman, of course, is nothing if not loyal. And Butler feels a degree of loyalty to the franchise that entrusted a first-round pick to a relatively unknown prospect.
League sources sort of joked at the idea of either Chicago guard Jimmy Butler or Pacers forward Paul George being obtainable in trade at the deadline, saying “You can always call, every team answers the phone during the All-Star break.” The consensus on both Butler and George is that neither team, Chicago nor Indiana, would actually consider a serious offer at this point, mainly because moving either player would require an open roster spot to consummate and neither team really has one.
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."
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.
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.
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.’’
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.
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."
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Storyline: Jimmy Butler Trade?
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Sixers not close to trading Ben Simmons

Complicating matters with that caveat of right now, of course, is the reality that the Sixers also do not appear close to a trade they are willing to go through with that gives Simmons his desired fresh start. More than two months after posting one of my Tuesday newsletter extravaganzas on Substack for the first time on July 13 — also a breakdown, on that occasion, of the latest on the Simmons front — Philadelphia looks no closer to a trade to bring an end to this stalemate.
This rumor is part of a storyline: 260 more rumors
Weeks of Philadelphia’s Simmons talks with various teams haven’t brought the Sixers to the brink of a deal, largely because Morey is the one faced with trying to get commensurate value for his All-Star and still asking for so much in return in his determination to recoup a trade package that, as one source put it, keeps Philadelphia in title contention. History, however, says that Philadelphia’s president of basketball operations shouldn’t count on getting a glittering package back when a deal finally materializes — his own history.
I reported Monday that the Sixers don’t expect Simmons to show and are resigned to try to keep working behind the scenes to try to convince him to reconsider that stance. After I published that, another source close to the situation told me: “Right now, I don’t see a scenario where Ben is back in Philly.” The source meant it with permanence. As in: Simmons’ career with the Sixers, to the source, is over.
I was told very clearly that the Sixers do not liken these circumstances to Al Horford’s last season in Oklahoma City or John Wall’s in Houston. As the start of training camp draws near, Philadelphia has shown zero interest to date in striking the sort of mutual agreement that Wall and the Rockets just hatched to shelve the former All-Star point guard.
Storyline: Ben Simmons Trade?
The Sixers have not lowered the bar on what they’re seeking in a Simmons trade — yet. Toronto, Minnesota, Cleveland, San Antonio and Sacramento — all of them, league sources say, have engaged with Philadelphia in Simmons trade talks. They’re also all bubble playoff teams at best based in markets not known for attracting free agents and surely love the idea of acquiring Simmons when the 25-year-old is locked into three guaranteed seasons on his contract after this one.