The NBA Trade Deadline is February 23rd, and chatter has started around the league about players who could be on the move.
Topping the list is Bulls star shooting guard, Jimmy Butler.
Butler is 26, and has two years left on his Max Contract he signed before the 15-16’ season, and has a player option for the 19-20’ season. With the value of his base contract only due to rise each of the next two guaranteed seasons it may be hard to find a team willing to take the cap hit, especially if they are a contender. The biggest question marks surrounding a move are, the value, and who are possible suitors?
This season Butler has averaged 25.6 PPG, 6.9 RPG, and 4.5 APG while shooting .454 from the field and .346 from behind the arc. For a player who broke into the league because of his defensive play, any team looking at Butler now sees a superstar on both sides of the ball.
Many teams are not looking to move a player like Butler, but the Bulls have talked about rebuilding before and to get the pieces they need moving a player like Butler becomes necessary. His stats this season prove his value is on the rise, as the asking price is likely to be high for him. Most teams who want Butler are going to have to give up a combo of top young talent and draft picks. Below are the top three teams I think would be good trade partners for Butler and the Bulls.
New Orleans Pelicans:
Pelicans Get: Jimmy Butler
Bulls Get: Buddy Hield, Terrance Jones, 1st Round Pick
Anthony Davis has been doing everything he can for the Pelicans, but one player can only do so much. He has been putting up stealer numbers at the young age of 23, but the Pelicans are on the verge of wasting his prime years with waiting for the young players to develop. Davis and the Pelicans are ready to compete, and adding Jimmy Butler could make them contenders.
For the Bulls, Buddy Hield is the young PG they need after the departure of Rose via trade, and one who can work under Wade before he retires. Adding Terrance Jones entices the Bulls even more as they have a young PF to work with, in the case that Taj Gibson leaves in Free Agency. These two are young player to build a core around for the Bulls, and if they can swing a 1st Round Pick as well, they will be well on their way to building a contending team once again.
Magic Get: Jimmy Butler, Jerian Grant
Bulls Get: Aaron Gordon, Elfrid Payton, 1st Round Pick
The Magic got rid of young stud Victor Oladipo, but if they can swing a deal for Butler they will get a more experienced version. The Magic need a player who can be the team leader, and Head Coach Frank Vogel would love to have Butler on his team. Defense would become a staple in Orlando with those two.
On the flip side, the Bulls get two young Point Guards who can become the future of the team. Denzel Valentine is good, but in his first season he has already proven injuries could plague his career. The Bulls need insurance at this position going forward, and Aaron Gordon may be the key. Like the Pelicans, I feel like the Magic will have to throw in a 1st Round Pick to the Bulls, if they are truly looking to get younger and build a contender.
Timberwolves Get: Jimmy Butler
Bulls Get: Ricky Rubio, Andrew Wiggins, 1st Round Pick
It’s no secret the Timberwolves are young team with a ton of upside, but they are in need a team leader for the young players. Jimmy Butler could be the key at only 27. A Superstar the young players can look up to, he gives them a player who can mentor their young stars as well as getting them to the next level. If the Timberwolves are willing to part ways with a young player from their roster, it makes sense for both sides.
Getting younger is just what the Bulls need to do now, and getting Andrew Wiggins does that for them. I find it near impossible for the Bulls to swing Zach Lavine a Karl Anthony-Towns in any deal, but I feel Andrew Wiggins is one they are more willing to part with. Throwing Ricky Rubio in the deal makes it all the more interesting for the Bulls, as they get an assist machine without the attitude problem of Rondo. Like any other team, a 1st Round Pick will have to be thrown in, as I don’t see the Bulls moving Butler without getting one in return.
There are many teams who will be in for Butler, but these three make the most sense at the moment. Any team who can package young talent and 1st Round Pick(s) are going to get the Bulls on the phone. For now, Butler can lead the Bulls and continue to learn from Wade. As February 23rd inches closer, more may come out about a potential move.