With new head coach Luke Walton officially in the fold, the Los Angeles Lakers can begin looking towards improving the roster this summer. One way to do that is through trade and one player believed to potentially be available is Chicago Bulls wing Jimmy Butler.
Butler is one of the NBA’s best two-way wings, being named an All-Star in each of the last two seasons and winning the NBA’s Most Improved Player Award in 2015. In 2016, however, the Bulls were one of the league’s biggest disappointments, failing to make the playoffs, and many believe that changes are on the way, with a Butler move potentially among them.
According to A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com, however, the Bulls are highly unlikely to deal Butler and even if they did decide to, it would take a whole lot to pry him away:
A league source tells CSNNE.com that the Bulls, while still open to listening to offers for Butler, are telling teams that are inquiring about his availability that their plan for now is to keep him in the fold.
And while there was some thought that a top-3 pick coupled with a few decent players might be enough to entice the Bulls to pull the trigger on a deal to trade Butler, CSNNE.com has been told such an offer would have to include at least one “legitimate, NBA starter” for the Bulls to even possibly consider trading him.
“And that might be a stretch,” the source indicated.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise as Butler is one of the league’s best two-way players. Even if the Bulls did decide to blow things up, it would make complete sense to keep Butler in tow and build around him as very few NBA players combine his offensive capabilities with being a lockdown defender.
One player who could is Indiana Pacers forward Paul George, to whom the Lakers have been linked to. It wouldn’t be a stretch to believe it would take a similar offer to pry him away as it would Butler.
For the Lakers, any possibility of pulling any trade of this nature is reliant on keeping their top-3 protected pick. In addition to that pick, it sounds as if the Lakers would need to include two of their young core pieces to even begin discussions about players of this caliber. If the Lakers aren’t willing to do that, it will be up to free agency to bring in a big-name player.