Bleacher Report’s Ric Bucher reported Thursday that the Chicago Bulls are openly shopping star forward Jimmy Butler.
The franchise has decided that they don’t want to continue to build around Jimmy Butler, who’s just 27-years-old and entering the prime of his career. Bucher added that the Bulls were secretly letting teams know that Jimmy Buckets was available, but after his recent stretch, the franchise elected to come out publically with it.
He’s averaging 32.6 points over his last five games, and that includes 40 against the Brooklyn Nets and 52 versus the Charlotte Hornets. For the season as a whole, Butler has improved dramatically as a scorer, eclipsing 25 points a night while hovering around 45 percent from the field.
The jump shot isn’t yet consistent, and it’s the one thing Butler’s missing that would make him a nearly unstoppable scorer. He can play in the post a bit and can also get to the basket at will, but he’s a slightly easier guard because defenders can sag off. Regardless of how teams play him, he never relents, and he goes to the free throw line more than nine times a night.
With 6.8 rebounds per game, Butler’s on pace to set another career-high, and he continues to anchor a Bulls team that’s the sixth stingiest defenses, as far as points allowed goes.
He’s easily one of the top-15 players in the league today and a bona fide franchise player, so the asking price will be remarkably hefty. If I’m Gar Forman, both assets and draft picks will be necessary for me to move Butler, and few teams in the NBA have a mixture of both to give up with few ramifications.
Danny Ainge is salivating at this opportunity.
For me, he’s the first guy who pops into my head when a superstar-level player is rumored to be being available. He has the cache to make it happen. Thanks to Billy King, the Boston Celtics have a projected top-three pick in the most loaded draft class in a long time. Furthermore, the likes of Markelle Fultz, Lonzo Ball, Malik Monk and Dennis Smith Jr. make 2017 incredibly guard heavy, and that’s where the Bulls lack.
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Boston could easily part ways with either Jae Crowder or Marcus Smart, which would sweeten the deal for Chicago even more. Crowder would somewhat be able to fill the void left by Butler, but not entirely. He’s a solid player but is nowhere near as dynamic as the two-time All-Star; Smart can play both guard positions, giving Fred Hoiberg another player who could help diminish the point guard woes.
If Ainge is feeling really adventurous, he could throw in the 2018 pick as well. That too is a projected top-three pick and, even though the class is much weaker, there are a few respectable players at the top.
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