Cleveland Cavaliers players have reportedly told Chicago Bulls star Jimmy Butler to avoid a trade to the reigning Eastern Conference champions due to the group's uncertain future following the departure of general manager David Griffin this week.
On Wednesday, Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times reported members of the Cavs who previously urged Butler to push for a deal to join the organization are now telling him the opposite. They are worried about an early "unforeseen early breakup" of the star-studded roster.
However, Sam Amico of AmicoHoops.net spoke to a source who said there is "zero truth" to the report and that it's an "absolute fabrication."
The 27-year-old Texas native quickly emerged as potential target for Cleveland following the team's five-game loss to the Golden State Warriors in the 2017 NBA Finals. He would have provided the Cavaliers with more firepower to challenge the Dubs in the increasingly top-heavy league.
Vincent Goodwill of CSN Chicago confirmed the Bulls are "shopping" Butler ahead of the 2017 NBA draft Thursday night, and he noted the Cavs "seemed to be on the Bulls' doorstep" before Griffin's exit.
Cavaliers superstar LeBron James posted a message on social media after the abrupt end of the general manager's stay with the franchise:
The sudden move came as speculation continues to swirl about the future of the team's Big Three, which also features point guard Kyrie Irving and power forward Kevin Love.
Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical said on a podcast last week James could again leave Cleveland next year, this time potentially landing in Los Angeles with the Lakers or Clippers. Meanwhile, Cowley added Irving has been contacting fellow Team USA players to inform them "he might be willing to push for a trade" due to the ongoing drama.
Butler's current contract has two more guaranteed seasons and a player option for a third year. So, while his arrival would bolster the Cavs' hopes of a championship next season, he could be left alone to pick up the pieces if the 2018 offseason becomes as frenzied as suddenly seems possible in Cleveland.