Trae Young’s intriguing draft status will make a stop in Chicago this week as he’ll work out for the Bulls, who are believed to be enamored with the playmaking point guard.
Young has been trained by Jimmy Butler’s trainer, Travelle Gaines, who had pointed comments about Bulls general manager Gar Forman in the wake of Butler being traded on draft night last year.
In a now-deleted tweet, Gaines said the Bulls have the worst culture in the league, and that he knows drug dealers with better morals than Forman, calling him a liar.
There was a strong belief Butler was misled by the Bulls in his final meeting with the front office before departing for a European vacation days before the draft. Gaines’ tweet only added fuel to that, as Butler was traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Zach LaVine, Lauri Markkanen and Kris Dunn.
There’s been whispers Gaines would try to use his influence with Young against the Bulls, and when reached by NBCSportsChicago.com, Gaines strongly denied the claim.
“I would never discourage Trae or any player from working out or talking to the Bulls,” Gaines said by telephone. “I don’t know where the narrative came from but that’s totally false.”
Young is scheduled to have his workout Thursday in Chicago, and Gaines said the two haven’t even discussed the Bulls in their training sessions. Gaines doesn’t regret his tweet, but he said it wasn’t reflective of his thoughts of the organization en masse.
“What I said a year ago, I was in the moment and those were my feelings at the time,” Gaines said. “But I don’t feel the Bulls are a bad organization or franchise. I love the franchise. I was a huge Michael Jordan fan. The league is better when the Bulls, Knicks and Lakers are great. I want the Bulls to be great again.”
Gaines also trains current Bulls Bobby Portis and Denzel Valentine at his facility in Los Angeles, and noted Portis and Young have run into each other a few times during sessions. Again, Gaines said he operates in the best interests of his clients and not personal agendas.
“(Bobby and Denzel) say they want to get back to the playoffs and I’ll tell them, ‘Get the Bulls back to the playoffs,’” Gaines said.
If Young is the player his greatest supporters believe he is, taking him with the seventh pick would be a step in that direction, even though the Bulls employ Kris Dunn at point guard.
Gaines is a big believer in Young and his potential fit with the Bulls, although he doesn’t believe Young will be around at the No. 7.
“I think Trae would be great for the Bulls,” Gaines said. “Playing alongside Lauri Markkanen and also Zach LaVine, he would be phenomenal for the team and the city of Chicago. He’d be great in that market.”
There’s no doubt Young carries a level of star power that would be attractive to the Bulls, who would love to have someone marketable to their fan base.
“With his work ethic and passion for basketball I think he will be great for the city of Chicago and that great market,” Gaines said.