Chicago’s top basketball executives – Gar Forman and John Paxson – didn’t shoot down the rumor.
Not even close.
When given the opportunity to boldly declare Butler as the untouchable piece, they left the door open to other ideas.
“I would say, I think John made it pretty clear we’ve got to take a look at everything,” Forman said. “We’ve got to explore all options and I don’t think there’s anything that’s off the table when you have a disappointing year like this. With that said, obviously Jimmy has had a fantastic year. From where he was to where he’s gotten to, he’s become a very, vey valuable player for us.”
“There’s one untouchable guy I’ve ever been around, Michael Jordan,” Paxson said. “So that’s how I’ve always looked at it.”
This still strikes me as management trying to send a message – both to Butler (who some believe has changed during his path to stardom) and his teammates (some of whom believe he gets preferential treatment). There’s nothing preferential about a trade you don’t want. It might even be humbling.
This is also a good way to evaluate Butler’s value around the league. That knowledge could come in handy.
And it’s possible the Bulls get an offer that knocks their socks off. Pushing to trade Butler would be a mistake, but they shouldn’t keep him at all costs if another team covets him to a ridiculous degree.
I doubt Chicago will sell low on Butler for the sake of change, and given the amount of lowball offers floated when a star becomes even somewhat available, that means he’ll probably remain a Bull.