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Bulls GM Gar Forman on trading Jimmy Butler: ‘We’ve got to explore all options’

Bulls-Butler Basketball

Chicago Bulls shooting guard Jimmy Butler shakes hands with general manager Gar Forman during a news conference Thursday, July 9, 2015 in Chicago. The Bulls took what they believe is a big step, announcing a maximum five-year contract for their All-Star shooting guard on Thursday. They are hoping Butler can build on a breakout season, form a dominant tandem with Rose and help them emerge from the Eastern Conference after they came up short last season. Butler’s deal is worth $95.5 million. (Anthony Souffle/Chicago Tribune via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT CHICAGO TRIBUNE; CHICAGO SUN-TIMES OUT; DAILY HERALD OUT; NORTHWEST HERALD OUT; THE HERALD-NEWS OUT; DAILY CHRONICLE OUT; THE TIMES OF NORTHWEST INDIANA OUT; TV OUT; MAGS OUT; NO SALES


Could the Bulls actually trade Jimmy Butler this summer?

Chicago’s top basketball executives – Gar Forman and John Paxson – didn’t shoot down the rumor.

Not even close.

Vincent Goodwill of CSN Chicago:

When given the opportunity to boldly declare Butler as the untouchable piece, they left the door open to other ideas.

“I would say, I think John made it pretty clear we’ve got to take a look at everything,” Forman said. “We’ve got to explore all options and I don’t think there’s anything that’s off the table when you have a disappointing year like this. With that said, obviously Jimmy has had a fantastic year. From where he was to where he’s gotten to, he’s become a very, vey valuable player for us.”

“There’s one untouchable guy I’ve ever been around, Michael Jordan,” Paxson said. “So that’s how I’ve always looked at it.”

This still strikes me as management trying to send a message – both to Butler (who some believe has changed during his path to stardom) and his teammates (some of whom believe he gets preferential treatment). There’s nothing preferential about a trade you don’t want. It might even be humbling.

This is also a good way to evaluate Butler’s value around the league. That knowledge could come in handy.

And it’s possible the Bulls get an offer that knocks their socks off. Pushing to trade Butler would be a mistake, but they shouldn’t keep him at all costs if another team covets him to a ridiculous degree.

I doubt Chicago will sell low on Butler for the sake of change, and given the amount of lowball offers floated when a star becomes even somewhat available, that means he’ll probably remain a Bull.