By Jared Peterman
A day after trading former MVP Derrick Rose, the Chicago Bulls actively listened to trade offers for SG Jimmy Butler during the NBA Draft Thursday night. The Bulls were hoping to fetch a top five pick with other pieces in return for Butler’s services. Boston, owning the third pick, and Minnesota, owning the fifth pick, were the main suitors for Chicago.
It was rumored that Chicago demanded a king’s ransom of Boston’s three 2016 first round picks, as well as Brooklyn’s first round pick in 2017 that Boston owns along with Marcus Smart, Avery Bradley and Jae Crowder for Butler, according to CBS Boston. Danny Ainge probably had a heart attack when hearing the price. That’s the only explanation for the rest of his first round selections. Chicago was much less demanding from Minnesota as they apparently offered Butler for Zach LaVine and the fifth pick, according to The Vertical’s Shams Charania.
Minnesota and Chicago never came to an agreement during draft night, but it was noted that the two teams will still discuss this offer. Tom Thibodeau and company selected Providence PG Kris Dunn with the fifth overall pick, who Chicago reportedly coveted.
So as the offer sits, Chicago would receive LaVine and Dunn while sending Butler to Minnesota. This trade benefits both teams and the directions they’re heading. Allow me to break it down.
Good for Minnesota:
Minnesota instantly becomes a playoff contender that could possibly win a series and push a team in the Western Conference Semifinals similar to what Portland did this season. The starting five would include Ricky Rubio, Butler, Andrew Wiggins, Karl-Anthony Towns, and Gorgui Dieng. Thibs and Butler are familiar with each other from their time together in Chicago and fit perfectly with defense first mentalities. The Wolves may see an opportunity with Butler on the team to attack free agency as well, possibly adding a starting PF. Acquiring Butler not only speeds up the rebuilding phase, it makes Minnesota a legit contender in the West for years to come.
I believe the hesitation from Minnesota comes from Thibs’ dissatisfaction with PG Ricky Rubio along with the infatuation of the potential between Dunn and LaVine. Rubio and Butler provides a more experienced and better defensive backcourt that would be ready to compete immediately.
Good for Chicago:
Chicago enters full rebuilding mode after trading Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler while probably losing Pau Gasol and Joakim Noah to free agency. Normally, rebuilding takes multiple years and is a painful process for teams to go through, but Chicago has hope through this process. Acquiring Kris Dunn and Zach LaVine would immediately set the backcourt for the future, which can be extremely hard for teams to accomplish. They also acquired 2015 first round pick, Jerian Grant, from the Knicks in the Rose trade who has potential to be a third guard in a rotation. These three guards allow Chicago to focus on the forward positions and lining their frontcourt.
The Bulls’ frontcourt of the future starts with their first round selection in 2015, PF Bobby Portis. Portis showed flashes in his rookie season to be a very solid NBA player down the line, who rebounds extremely well while showing post and midrange skills on offense. The other two forwards consist of Nikola Mirotic and Doug McDermott, who played much better under Fred Hoiberg’s up-tempo system than they showed in their previous seasons. Both players are fairly young and provide great shooting at the forward positions. Add in Chicago’s 2016 first round selection of SG/SF Denzel Valentine, the AP National Player of the Year, who has a mixed bag of skills that can fit anywhere on the court, and the Bulls start to have a firm structure in place. To add to the move, the Bulls then have the decision to either flip Robin Lopez for picks or more young assets to add to this process or keep Lopez on the roster to make this process a tad smoother as a formidable defensive minded, scrappy center. The first season of the rebuild will land the Bulls in the lottery for a second consecutive season, but could make the playoffs as early as the 2017-2018 season as they watch their young backcourt flourish and add more pieces in the 2017 draft.