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Rumor: Jimmy Butler could sign with Bulls in 2019

Jimmy Butler, Ryan Arcidiacono

Minnesota Timberwolves guard Jimmy Butler, left, works against Chicago Bulls guard Ryan Arcidiacono during the second half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Feb. 9, 2018, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Matt Marton)


The Bulls are reportedly targeting 2019 free agency to make a big splash.

How about a familiar name – Jimmy Butler, whom Chicago traded to the Timberwolves last summer?

Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times:

“Decisions I make, the money, my contract, all of that will handle itself. I don’t ever worry about my money. I already have enough money for the rest of my life. It’s all about winning.’’

That’s why a return to the Bulls isn’t that far-fetched. After next season

Team president Michael Reinsdorf is a huge Butler fan, and the feeling is mutual. Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn, Lauri Markkanen and a soon-to-be draft pick might need some tough love.

“I loved the city of Chicago, and I love the Reinsdorfs,’’ Butler said. “I’m forever grateful for them in taking a chance on me, allowing me to become the player that I am today. It’s still incredible to me that I got to hoop in a Bulls jersey. I got to play in the house that [Michael] Jordan built, that [Scottie] Pippen played, all that stuff. That’s because of the Reinsdorfs.

“If the time comes where I say, ‘You know what, I do want to end this thing in a Bulls jersey,’ I think that would be amazing. But it’s all about being wanted and winning.’’

“And no general manager Gar Forman?’’ Butler was asked.

He then laughed and limped away.

Cowley seems to have
an in with Butler. Is this just an idea Cowley had and Butler not pooh-poohing it because the player realizes there’s no point in closing potential options? If so, this is pretty irrelevant. Or is this Butler planting the seeds of a legitimate possibility and Cowley using his knowledge as a Bulls beat writer to explain why it’s feasible? If so, that’s far more intriguing.

The idea of LeBron James returning to Cleveland seemed preposterous a year before it happened, but there were signs. In hindsight, we should have taken them more seriously.

By 2019, the young Bulls might be ready to win. Chicago is on track to have major cap space that offseason. The fit makes some sense on paper.

It’s just a little weird with Butler having already been a Bull.