Coming off his third straight appearance in the All-Star game, Chicago Bulls star Shooting Guard Jimmy Butler’s future as a Bull remains in question. Butler had an incredible first half to the 2016-2017 season. According to ESPN, Butler averaged 24.5 points, five assists and 6.3 rebounds a game, all career highs. Despite Butler’s performance, the Bulls had an underwhelming first half to the season, going 28-29. If the season ended today, the Bulls would barely squeak into the playoffs. So, with a middling NBA team, the Bulls can trade Butler beginning a rebuild or try to build around him.
Today’s NBA landscape is a grave one for those not named the Warriors or Cavaliers. While there are other teams playing at a high level, a Warriors versus Cavs Finals rematch seems imminent, unless a significant move is made. Since it does not seem the Bulls will be in position to contend for a championship in the near future, unloading Butler makes sense. Luckily for the Bulls, there is a team that is the perfect suitor for Butler.
The Boston Celtics are currently the second best team in the Eastern Conference behind the Cavaliers. The Celtics finished the first half of the season with a 37-20 record, only three games behind the Cavs. The Celtics have a solid core led by budding star Point Guard Isaiah Thomas and veteran Center Al Horford. The Celtics are a deep team with an elite coach, but many believe they are one star away from being a serious threat to Lebron and the Cavs. The Celtics should look no further than Jimmy Butler. The Celtics are equipped with tools to pull off a trade for Butler as well, which include a bevy of draft picks and young talent.
The Celtics and Bulls are no stranger to trade talks that include Butler. Last summer prior to the NBA draft, many NBA beat reporters believed that the Bulls and Celtics may strike a deal that would send Butler to the Celtics. Whatever talks were reported, fell through. Many believed that the Bulls did not think the Celtics offered enough for Butler and that his stock would continue to rise this season. The Bulls were right, as Butler has continued his ascension to NBA superstardom.
In recent days, reports have again risen that there have been talks between the Bulls and Celtics regarding Butler. But, will it actually happen? During the “Gar and Pax” front office era, the Bulls have been a total stranger to making significant moves at the trade deadline. Along with their ineptitude to pull the trigger on big moves, the Bulls seem to be a team more concerned about selling tickets than winning championships. During the offseason, the Bulls signed Rajon Rondo and Dwayne Wade, two former stars past their prime. While the signings were “cool,” they have only furthered the Bulls from contending in the future.
Unloading a fan favorite in Butler would not be easy, but it could be the fastest path to a championship. As long as the Warriors big four is intact, and Lebron James is in the NBA, the Bulls will not be able to contend for a championship. So, why not prepare for the future by getting younger and stock piling draft picks?