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Jimmy Butler on Derrick Rose trade: ‘It had to be one of us’

Milwaukee Bucks v Chicago Bulls - Game Five

CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 27: Derrick Rose #1 and Jimmy Butler #21 of the Chicago Bulls wait for a member of the Milwaukee Bucks to shoot a free throw during the first round of the 2015 NBA Playoffs at the United Center on April 27, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bucks defeated the Bulls 94-88. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agress that, by downloading and or using the photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

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There was a belief the Bulls had to trade Jimmy Butler or Derrick Rose.

Butler apparently subscribed to it.

Butler on the Derrick Rose trade, via ESPN:

I can’t say that I was surprised. But I knew that it had to be one of us, to tell you the truth.

I was never convinced Chicago had to move one or the other. Yes, Butler and Rose clearly didn’t ideally complements each other on the court. Yes, there were signs of discord off the court.

But it wouldn’t have been worth selling low on Butler, a legitimate two-way star, or surrendering a positive asset to dump Rose. They play different positions, and Rose’s contract was expiring after this season. Even if the odds were against them meshing, I just didn’t see the urgency.

The Knicks offering a more valuable player than Rose (Robin Lopez) plus Jerian Grant made it an easier call. But there’s a big difference between having to trade a player and accepting a favorable deal that became available.

So, why did Butler think the Bulls had to trade him or Rose, a player Butler effusively praised on the way out the door?

Tracy McGrady asked that important follow-up question. Butler’s response:

I have no idea.