Jimmy Butler Trade Rumors: Latest News, Speculation on Bulls Star

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured Columnist

Chicago Bulls' Jimmy Butler in action during an NBA basketball game against the Philadelphia 76ers, Monday, Nov. 9, 2015, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Matt Slocum/Associated Press

Chicago Bulls guard Jimmy Butler has established himself as one of the NBA's most complete players, but the 26-year-old star's future in the Windy City is reportedly uncertain.  

Continue for updates.

Butler Reportedly Unhappy About GM's Comments

Sunday, May 8 

When asked about whether Butler would be traded, Bulls general manager Gar Forman told reporters on April 13: "We have to explore all options. I don’t think anything’s off the table with the year we’ve had."

K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune reported on Saturday: "That comment didn't sit well with Butler, sources said, merely adding to his growing wariness regarding Forman that stems from Butler feeling slighted during failed negotiations on his rookie extension."

Paxson Comments on Butler's Fit with Rose

Wednesday, April 13

Vice president of basketball operations John Paxson admitted Butler and Derrick Rose "didn't mesh consistently," per Johnson

Butler Comments on Trade Rumors

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Friday, April 1

Butler told ESPN's Nick Friedell after the team's win over the Brooklyn Nets that he's committed to Chicago despite the latest trade buzz:

That's why I'm here. I don't plan on going anywhere. I can't control what everybody else does. I know that this is the city that I love, Chicago. And I want to wear that jersey. I want to wear that name on the front, and I wear it proudly. All I got to do is continue to control what I can control. That's try to help this team win games.

To tell you the truth I don't pay attention to the rumors. Somebody sent [the story] to me today, and I just clicked off of it. I mean, why am I getting in [to the speculation]? I can't control it. I can't say don't do this or don't do that. That's not my job. If I do what I'm supposed to do on the floor, then everything else takes care of itself. I'm a firm believer in that.

Hoiberg Comments on Butler Trade Rumors

Friday, April 1

Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg wasn't aware of the report and gave his relationship with Butler a vote of confidence after the team's win over the Nets, per Friedell:

I haven't heard anything about [the report]. But again, I don't read a lot right now. I think Jimmy and I have a really good relationship right now. I've been communicating a lot with him. Since he had the injury and has come back we've really limited his time. He hasn't done much in shootaround just to try and save his legs for the game. I obviously think the world of him for how hard he pushes himself and how much he's just improved his game over the years with his work ethic. I think that rubs off onto the other guys. So Jimmy absolutely is a very important part to this team.

Report: 'Legitimate Interest' in Potential Butler Trade

Thursday, March 31

According to Chris Mannix of The Vertical (h/t Chuck Myron of HoopsRumors.com), there is "legitimate interest in Chicago in potentially dealing [Butler] this offseason," and the Orlando Magic have emerged as one of the top suitors.

Per Mannix, there are reportedly chemistry issues between Hoiberg and his players, with Butler standing out as the most glaring example. That led to multiple teams inquiring about Butler's availability at the trade deadline, including the Boston Celtics.

The issues between Butler and Hoiberg may stem from a December incident that saw the two-time All Star criticize his coach, according to ESPN.com's Nick Friedell:

But I also believe that we probably have to be coached a lot harder at times. I'm sorry. I know Fred's a laid-back guy and I really respect him for that, but when guys aren't doing what they're supposed to do, you got to get on guys. Myself included. You got to do what you're supposed to do when you're out there playing basketball.

What Butler Would Bring to Potential Suitor

The former Marquette standout has enjoyed a great year statistically despite the controversy, with per-game averages of 21 points, 5.2 rebounds and 4.4 assists, but the Bulls are just 37-37 and would not make the playoffs if the season ended today.

Butler missed some time this season due to a knee injury, and while it is still a nagging problem, he does not believe offseason surgery will be necessary, per Friedell.

That could conceivably help his trade value, although dealing their best player in the prime of his career likely wouldn't be the best move for the Bulls if they want to win in the near future.

With big man Pau Gasol getting up there in years, point guard Rose not being the same dominant player he once was and center Joakim Noah struggling before being lost for the season, Chicago has other big issues to focus on in addition to Butler.

A player of his caliber would almost certainly bring back a huge return in a trade. However, finding another all-around contributor like Butler may not be realistic for the Bulls.

Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter.

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