Jimmy Butler Trade Rumors: Cavaliers, Celtics Interested in Acquiring Bulls SG

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJune 19, 2017

Chicago Bulls forward Jimmy Butler (21) warms up before the start of the game against the Miami Heat during an NBA basketball game in Chicago, Friday, Jan. 27, 2017. Butler was taken out of the starting lineup for comments he made after a loss, (AP Photo/David Banks)
David Banks/Associated Press

Since he has two more guaranteed years remaining on his current deal, the time may never be better for the Chicago Bulls to trade Jimmy Butler, and the team is reportedly actively shopping the three-time All-Star.

According to ESPN.com's Marc Stein, the Cleveland Cavaliers are working on potential trade proposals. Cleveland would include Kevin Love in the trade and attempt to find a third team to provide the assets necessary to complete the deal.

CSN Chicago's Vincent Goodwill reported the Boston Celtics and Phoenix Suns are showing interest, with The Vertical's Adrian Wojnarowski throwing the Minnesota Timberwolves into the mix as well.

Paul George is another star on the trade market, with Wojnarowski reporting Sunday George told the Indiana Pacers he doesn't intend on re-signing with the team when he's eligible to enter free agency in 2018.

Butler is arguably the better option of the two. Not only is he signed for an extra season, he possesses a better all-around offensive game than George. The Bulls wing averaged 23.9 points, 6.2 rebounds and 5.5 assists a game in 2016-17, compared to 23.7 points, 6.6 rebounds and 3.3 assists for George.

The Bulls also allowed 3.7 more points per 100 possessions when Butler was off the court, per NBA.com.

For the Cavaliers, Butler's defense would potentially help the team bridge the gap with the Golden State Warriors. As a 37 percent career shooter from three-point range, however, going with Butler would likely sacrifice some of the spacing Love provides the Cavs.

The Celtics, meanwhile, need another star of Butler's caliber in order to compete with the Cavaliers for Eastern Conference supremacy. Having Butler on the roster almost certainly wouldn't have gotten Boston past Cleveland in this year's postseason, but the absence of another proven scorer alongside Isaiah Thomas was glaring.

The calculus for the Suns and Timberwolves is roughly the same.

After winning 47 combined games the last two years, Phoenix needs significant upgrades in order to climb into the top eight in the Western Conference. Minnesota has a lot of promising young pieces on its roster, and acquiring Butler would help the franchise take the next stage in its development.

More teams could join the Butler sweepstakes, making it increasingly likely he leaves the Windy City this summer. 

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