Report: Bulls may be open to dealing Butler; Celtics, Magic interested
Whether the Chicago Bulls make the playoffs or not, it's been a disappointing season in the Windy City, and the team is now open to trading franchise player Jimmy Butler as a result, according to The Vertical's Chris Mannix.
The Boston Celtics, who reportedly inquired about Butler's availability before last month's trade deadline, and the Orlando Magic are two teams particularly interested, and the Bulls are prepared to listen to offers, reports Mannix.
The Bulls will be at a crossroads this summer. Their roster is almost entirely held over from the era of Tom Thibodeau, who operated a grinding, defensive system that is the polar opposite of first-year coach Fred Hoiberg's vision for free-flowing offensive sets. That could mean the team will bid farewell to Joakim Noah and Pau Gasol, two unrestricted free agent traditional big men north of 30 years old.
To compound matters further, Hoiberg and Butler still don't see eye-to-eye, according to multiple reports. The latter publicly called out the coach in December, and tension still lingers, according to Mannix.
Butler, who was bequeathed the mantle of the Bulls' go-to guy with the decline of Derrick Rose, signed a max contract extension with Chicago last summer. He's averaging a team-high 21 points per game, although his 3-point accuracy has dipped under 32 percent after a marked improvement last year.
Hoiberg, known to be close with Bulls general manager Gar Forman, was named head coach last June after the team's protracted divorce from Thibodeau.
The Bulls, sitting at .500 after Tuesday's win over the Indiana Pacers, are currently two games out of eighth place in the Eastern Conference. If they fail to make the playoffs, it will be their first postseason-free campaign since 2007-08.