Minnesota Timberwolves aggressively pursued a trade for All-Star Jimmy Butler on Thursday night after drafting Kris Dunn, but the talks ultimately fizzled. Butler is likely to stay with Bulls now.
Chicago was not willing to surrender Butler just a day after trading Derrick Rose to New York in a blockbuster trade.
The Bulls general manager Guy Forman himself tried to bury the speculations on Butler’s trade, as reported by the ESPN.
“Jimmy’s in and out of the building all the time when he’s in town,” Forman said, “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. We were in no talks with anybody. There was no discussion during the entire draft this evening as far as Jimmy Butler was concerned.”
Butler angered his teammates and front office staff by trying to adopt a more vocal leadership role this season. The two-time All-star guard failed to lead Chicago to the playoffs triggering rumors that the Bulls are looking to trade him this offseason.
Forman clarified that the franchise isn’t shopping the star guard this summer.
“We have never made a call in regards to Jimmy Butler,” Forman pointed out. “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.”
Wolves’ new coach Tom Thibodeau was keen to acquire Butler. The Celtics were also eyeing the Bulls’ guard by trading their third overall pick. But things didn’t progress farther.
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