With all the surrounding rumors of a late trade during draft night, Chicago Bulls general manager Gar Forman has reiterated their position that there will be no trade talk that will involve Jimmy Butler.
Forman went on to say that there were no “discussions” on moving Butler to any team nor did they make any call to any team asking for a trade during draft night. He added that it was all media speculation and media hype. Forman noted that they value Butler now more than ever since they have let go of their star player Derrick Rose to the New York Knicks.
“During the draft, we started getting some text messages 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 how 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, and 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.”
However, Forman’s statements are a bit confusing since he was quoted by K. C. Johnson that for the Bulls to move Butler to any team, the offer should knock them off their “socks.”
Forman: "When you have a special player like Jimmy, in order to move him, it's got to be something that knocks your socks off."
— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) June 24, 2016
“When you have a special player like Jimmy, in order to move him, it’s got to be something that knocks your socks off,” Forman stated.
The closest team to ever pursue Butler was the Minnesota Timberwolves, who placed their fifth pick in the NBA Draft Kris Dunn on the table together with Ricky Rubio. However, talks died down when the Bulls asked for Zach LaVine and Dunn and not Rubio to progress with the supposed trade.
The Timberwolves did not comment on the said trade offer, but Marc Stein has continuously noted that the talks are still on the table and that the Timberwolves are hoping that their quest for Butler would be reconsidered by the Bulls management. As of this date, no official word has been out yet about the trade, and speculations note that the Bulls will definitely keep Butler and build the core of the team around him for next season.
ESPN sources say Wolves haven't surrendered their Jimmy Butler quest, but longer this night goes suggests Bulls can't bear to part with him
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) June 24, 2016
Forman was already the Bulls general manager when they drafted Butler as their 30th overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft. It was also Forman who built a contender core in the Bulls lineup in 2010 when they brought in Carlos Boozer, Kyle Korver, Ronnie Brewer, Omer Asik, Kurt Thomas, Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, Luol Deng, Ben Gordon, Kirk Hinrich and Taj Gibson. It was also during his tenure that Tom Thibodeau was named as the Bulls’ 18th head coach.
Despite forming the said squad, the Bulls still did not manage to clinch an NBA Finals. The closest they got was a spot in the Eastern Conference Finals back in 2011 when they faced the Miami Heat that had the “Big Three” of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. The Bulls would win the first game of the series and then would bow out after losing four straight games.
It was the best ever finish for the Bulls under Forman as they finished the regular season with a 62-20 record, which was the best of the franchise since 1998. However, afterward, injury plagued the team, and as they say, the rest was history.
Photo Courtesy: Joseph Glorioso Photography/Flickr