The Chicago Bulls have a lot of decisions to make this offseason regarding three of their best players - Jimmy Butler, Dwyane Wade and Rajon Rondo. Butler has the most value among the three stars and the Bulls might finally trade him this offseason.
In a recent press conference, Bulls vice president of basketball operations John Paxson and general manager Gar Forman clarified the future of their three stars, as well as head coach Fred Hoiberg. Paxson and Forman gave no clear answer on Butler's future, a sign that the Bulls might finally trade him this summer.
When asked about Butler, Paxson said that he "always keeps things open," as reported by Andrew Seligman of the Associated Press/NBA. Butler has been linked to many trade rumors in the past couple of seasons and whatever the plan is for him, it has an effect on the Bulls' future.
If the Bulls decide to trade "Jimmy G. Buckets" this summer, it's a clear sign that the team will rebuild. Butler will give Chicago a nice haul of picks and young players. He has been linked with teams like the Los Angeles Lakers, New Orleans Pelicans and Boston Celtics.
The Lakers are under a new regime and they want a superstar in Los Angeles. If they cannot get Paul George from the Indiana Pacers, Butler is a great alternative. The Pelicans, on the other hand, are interested in making the team even stronger by adding a third superstar along with Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins.
Just like the Pelicans, the Celtics are also interested in adding a third superstar. The interest will be higher this offseason, especially if Boston gets eliminated in the second round or they can't get past LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the East.
On the other hand, the decisions regarding Wade and Rondo are also big for the organization. Wade has a $23.8 million player option and he could decide to stay because he won't get that kind of money in free agency. He's no longer the player he once was and he won't command a lot of money on the market.
In an interview with ESPN, Wade noted that he is keeping all of his options open this summer. He will talk with Forman and Paxson about their plans and he is going to make a decision based on it. He also hinted at the possibility of chasing another championship.
"There's so many different variables that come into play, especially for me at this point in my career. Like I said, I have a great luxury. I don't need to ring-chase, but I can. It's a great luxury to have if I want to do. Or I can be a part of passing down my knowledge to younger players. It's either way," Wade said.
As for Rondo, the Bulls front office liked what they saw in Rondo during the whole locker room spat last January. Rondo had a very good effect on the Bulls' young players and his contract might get guaranteed next season. His role will surely be more on a being a leader with veteran experience.
"I can't underscore the positives for Rondo being with our young guys. Inside the building, we understand how important that was. It started last summer when he started hanging with our guys in summer league. To be candid with you, when we had that incident where Dwyane and Jimmy spoke up in January, when he stood up for our young guys, that empowered them a little bit," Paxson said.
The Bulls executives also made it clear that head coach Fred Hoiberg will return next season as head coach. It is despite the Bulls fans chanting "Fire Hoiberg" in Game 6 of the 2017 NBA Playoffs when the Boston Celtics eliminated the team.