BOSTON – Derrick Rose, a Chicago prodigy who was selected by his hometown Bulls with the No. 1 pick in 2008, will take his talents (what’s left of them, anyway) to the New York Knicks after being traded on Tuesday.
Now that Rose has found a new home, will Jimmy Butler be next?
That has to be at or near the forefront of Butler’s thoughts now that the Bulls are officially his team to steer forward.
They added Robin Lopez along with Jerian Grant and Jose Calderon.
On paper, it’ll make them deeper until you remember that those guys will be counted on to fill the void left by Rose, Joakim Noah and Pau Gasol – all former All-Stars.
Which is why Butler will have to think long and hard about demanding a trade.
Because the way this team is assembled now, they’ll be worse than they were last season when they failed to make the playoffs.
Of course the Bulls front office will try and sell Butler on the idea that this is his team and they’ll only go as far as he can take them.
And of course Butler knows they’ll need more than him at the top of his game, for Chicago to be as good or better than they were a year ago.
The Bulls won’t say it, but getting rid of Rose was the first tangible step in their rebuilding process.
And while Butler is only 26 years old, he has established himself as one of the premier players in this league. The last thing he wants to do at this point is spend prime years of his NBA life trying to lead a really bad team towards respectability.
That’s where the Celtics come in.
If the Bulls are ready to embrace a full-blown rebuilding process, then the Celtics are very much a team they will want to partner up with.
Boston has draft picks and young talent, two essential building blocks for any team that’s looking to rebuild.
And the Celtics present a clearer path towards title contention for Butler, then the current crew he’s with in Chicago.
But the Bulls will have a shot this summer to bolster their roster to make it more appealing for Butler to embrace being part of going forward.
They need to add players who can come in and hit the ground running that can not only play but also play to the strengths of Butler.
Like most athletic wings, Butler could benefit from having more players on the floor who can help in spacing. That’s why Chicago needs to make New Orleans’ Ryan Anderson a huge priority.
Chicago could also use a point guard with a bit more cache than what they currently have.
One name we’ll likely see as a potential Bulls target is former Celtic Rajon Rondo.
Adding those players coupled with the ones they acquired in trading Rose, certainly gives the Bulls a very good shot at getting back to the playoffs which may be enough to appease Butler.
But if he’s looking to go the Rose route and be traded, you can bet the Celtics will be among the teams best positioned to strike a deal.