It seems the Chicago Bulls are getting serious about trading their star shooter Jimmy Butler as rumors are swirling that exploration talks with the Minnesota Timberwolves have gotten serious. However, it comes with a hefty decision as the Bulls are asking for their draft pick including Andrew Wiggins in the deal.
The 26-year-old Butler just signed a five-year contract worth $92.3 million. Going into the next season, Butler has a cap hit of $18.7 million and a base salary of $16.4 million. Butler has proven his worth in the Bulls cause as he has averaged 20.9 points with 4.8 assists and 5.3 rebounds per game this season. If the Bulls unload Butler from their roster, they would certainly feel the effects of missing a very consistent scorer. On the financial side, however, it gives them more breathing room in their salary cap which they could use to lure a star in the free agency market.
If the trade would be executed, the Timberwolves will get a veteran that could provide stability at the guard and small forward position and would also mean a reunion with former coach Tom Thibodeau as well. If the Bulls decide to give in to the trade it could also entice Joakim Noah to also jump ship and sign with the Timberwolves as he and Butler are used to the system of Thibodeau during their stint together with the Bulls.
Meanwhile, the 21-year-old small forward/shooting guard Andrew Wiggins has a club option clause to his contract but will take effect in 2017 at $7.5 million with a qualifying offer at $9.8 million by 2018. However, going into the next season, Wiggins has a cap hit and base salary of $6 million. If traded, Wiggins brings in consistent number as he has been averaging 20.7 points, 2.0 assists and 3.6 rebounds which are not bad for a rookie.
Getting him into the Bulls will give Fred Hoiberg a young blood to inject into his system that could hopefully lighten things up with the Bulls for next season as they look to rebuild the team with a younger roster.
However, if the Bulls decide to pull the trigger for the trade to happen, the Bulls might also consider other options along the way as other teams such as the Boston Celtics may have a way better offer for the Bulls to take in. Since armed with the No.3 overall pick this coming draft night, the Celtics are becoming more aggressive in their campaign to bring in a superstar to their fold and Butler may be one of them this summer.
Logically, the Bulls should consider an offer from the Celtics as they could have better chances also of selecting a young prospect, which could be the next face for the Bulls in the future. CSN’s Celtics Insider A. Sherrod Blakely noted that the aside from the draft pick, the Celtics could also bring in players to make their offer more lucrative that the Bulls could not refuse.
“[I’m] hearing that No. 3 pick overall is the one that they are really shopping. Trying to be as aggressive as possible in trying to move that pick, because they want to get a difference-making, impact player right now. And they believe using that No. 3 pick, and maybe some other players and/or picks, might be the best way to [make] that happen. The guys that they want are the guys that everybody wants. We’re talking about [Kevin] Durant, we’re talking about Jimmy Butler, those type of players. And those guys are going to be at the top of their wish list until those guys say, ‘We don’t want to come to Boston.'” Blakely said.
It will be an exciting summer indeed as teams are already gearing up with trade talks with barely a week before the draft which will be on June 23 in Brooklyn. And it seems the Bulls, the Timberwolves, and the Celtics are just in the tip of the iceberg as of this time, hopefully, something concrete takes place with the draft fast approaching and with the free agency market set to open by July 1.
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