Are the Bulls trading Jimmy Butler? On Thursday, news dropped from Bleacher Report‘s Ric Bucher that Chicago’s front office is putting their franchise player back on the trading market. My sources, along with those of Sean Highkin from The Athletic, refuted that notion soon after Bucher’s post went viral. But let’s pretend for now that Gar Forman and John Paxson are considering this option, or at least would be willing to take phone calls and hear offers.
What’s the best move for GarPax to make? Is trading away their star in order to fully commit to a rebuild the best course of action? Or should they continue to “retool” (their word) but keep Butler and build the roster around him? That’s the huge decision facing the Bulls front office right now, and they better not screw it up. If their boss were anyone other than the lifeless and ambivalent owner Jerry Reinsdorf, GarPax would be out of second chances already. If they flub this one, it just might earn them their first strike in the “three strikes and maybe I’ll start paying attention” system Reinsdorf appears to be using.
So, let’s do GarPax a favor. Let’s make a pros and cons list for trading Jimmy Butler.
Pro #1: Actually Commit To Something
Forman and Paxson have deservedly received tons of criticism for their flip-floppy decisions in recent seasons. Did they make a mistake in firing Tom Thibodeau, one of the winningest coaches in NBA history? Did they foolishly shortcut their way to the hiring of their pet Fred Hoiberg, instead of conducting a legitimate search for Thibodeau’s replacement? Why did they hand-pick Fred for his offensive system only to give him rosters incapable of playing his style? Why did they sign Rajon Rondo and Dwyane Wade mere days after pledging to make the roster “younger and more athletic” following a 42-40 season that could only be described as a disastrous underachievement?
…Are you getting sick of my rhetorical questions yet? Good. You should be. I did so to make my first argument in the case for trading Jimmy Butler. If GarPax made this move, it would at the very least be a clear-cut sign to Bulls fans that the rebuild is on. For real this time. They’ve postponed a necessary rebuild for too long, and are stuck in the hell of NBA mediocrity. The quick fix attempts of Pau Gasol, Rajon Rondo and Dwyane Wade may have kept the Bulls relevant in the media, but not on the court.
Giving up Butler for a haul of young talent and draft picks would signify the beginning of a true rebuild, finally. While they’re at it, they could trade Taj Gibson and Robin Lopez too. Stockpile youth and picks, and give Cristiano Felicio and Bobby Portis more minutes to develop in the back half of a lost season. GarPax haven’t shown us any plans that firm and decisive in recent memory. At least that would be something.
Speaking of that haul of young talent…[USE ARROWS ABOVE TO CONTINUE READING]