Then came the report Butler told the Cavaliers he wants to stay in Chicago.
What changed? Did Butler remember his love of deep dish pizzas and Millennium Park and have a change of heart?
No, more likely is that Cavaliers players actually called him up and said “you don’t want to come here right now,” reports Joe Crowly at the Chicago Sun-Times.
According to a Cleveland source close to the situation, several of the Cavaliers who had been prodding Butler to push for a trade from the Bulls the last five days were now warning him to stay away from a suddenly volatile situation.
That change? Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert decided to let go of GM David Griffin. It was a stupid move on multiple levels, primarily that Griffin had done an amazing job in the role, and that LeBron James trusted him and was not happy Griffin was cut loose.
As an aside: Gilbert just gave LeBron a legitimate reason to leave in 2018. LeBron can say Gilbert showed he was not serious about keeping a contender together, he was able to bring one title to Cleveland but Gilbert stands in the way of future ones, and it is time to move on so he can keep chasing greatness and the ghost of Jordan. Outside of Cleveland, fans would look at the incompetence and nod.
Cleveland doesn’t have a GM — and may be about to hire one with no front office experience — heading into a key offseason where they need to revamp their roster to better compete with the Warriors, or risk losing LeBron. Does Butler want to walk into that situation? No.
And it’s the Cavs who are telling him so.