The Chicago Bulls are losing the members of its core team with Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah now set to play alongside Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis in the New York Knicks while Pau Gasol finalizes a deal with the San Antonio Spurs to work with Kawhi Leonard, LaMarcus Aldridge and Danny Green. With only a handful of its original stars in the roster, it looks like the NBA team is not yet done. A Jimmy Butler trade to be followed by swaps involving Nikola Mirotic and Taj Gibson are said to be in the works this offseason.
The exit of Derrick Rose from the Chicago Bulls was taken as a sign by the fans that the NBA team now belongs to Jimmy Butler. However, it looks like the front office is not yet fully convinced that the young point guard can lead the team on his own terms. Hence, the Chicago Bulls pulled off a surprise move when they signed former Boston Celtics star Rajon Rondo this offseason.
The entry of the former Sacramento Kings star, who was initially expected to help rebuild the DeMarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay squad amid the drama brought about by the George Karl episode, was questioned by fans of the Chicago Bulls. However, some experts believe that this might be a sign pointing to the direction the NBA team is headed in the next years. That is, the front office might be aiming to sign short-term deals with veterans while they slowly sign young stars in an effort to rebuild their team. This decision could mean the end of the Jimmy Butler era in Chicago.
"I knew it had to be one of us," admitted Jimmy Butler on the Derrick Rose trade. He further shared, "Because we didn't win, I think everything comes up. If we win, there's nothing to say. We're fine, we can along together, we'd probably still be teammates to tell you the truth. But we didn't win. I didn't do my job, as well as he didn't."
With this admission, Butler himself shared his uncertainty over his future with the franchise. After missing the 2016 NBA playoffs, the Chicago Bulls stars faced intense scrutiny from the front office. Amid their messages of support and plans of moving forward, one idea stood out - no player in the roster is safe from being traded.
Butler said of his status, "I don't think anything is for certain. I really don't. I love the city of Chicago, Chicago basketball, I think everybody knows that. They drafted me I've been here my entire career. Nothing is for certain."
Meanwhile, Nikola Mirotic is reportedly in the trading block this offseason. While the NBA trade rumors surrounding his name are not as loud as his friends in the Chicago Bulls roster, sources claim that the NBA team is looking for a partner that can offer good value for the star. As for Taj Gibson, the exit of veterans Joakim Noah and Pau Gasol might push him to get out of the Chicago Bulls roster as soon as possible too.
"After being a real spark for the bulls off the bench in the last year of the Tom Thibodeau era, Nikola Mirotic backed his rookie season up with a disappointing one to say the least," noted Ryan McKenzie of FanSided. He continued to point out though, "The only good thing about Mirotic is that he is on the perfect trade salary. Thankfully, it's not too high and unfortunately, not low enough to represent his true value. His salary is around $5.5 million, which can allow the Bulls to do some interesting things if and when they decide to trade him."
What do you think? Should the Chicago Bulls trade Jimmy Butler? What about Nikola Mirotic and Taj Gibson? Will these changes help the team go back to its former Michael Jordan glory days?