Chicago Bulls: 3 reasons the team should hold onto Jimmy Butler
The Chicago Bulls have some decisions to make this summer, including what to do with Jimmy Butler.
The No. 30 pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, Butler came out hot from a three-year stint at Marquette University. Having averaged 12.0 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.7 assists a game overall as a Golden Eagle, Butler was averaging 15.7 points, 6.1 rebounds and 2.3 assists per matchup as a senior.
Those numbers ultimately stood out to the Bulls, and for good reason. Sure, the swingman had plenty of development left before him, but he had already proven himself as quite a player on both ends of the floor.
Now unfortunately, it took some time for Butler to adjust to the league. Perhaps Chicago simply did not utilize him properly, or maybe the Houston native was just slower than most on the uptake. Whatever the case, it was not until his third year with the Bulls that Butler’s potential finally started to show.
During the 2013-14 season, Butler saw an average of 38.7 minutes a contest, recording 13.1 points, 4.9 rebounds and 2.6 assists.
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Fast forward to 2016-17, and the 27-year-old has more than proven his worth.
Averaging 23.9 points, 6.2 rebounds and 5.5 assists a game during the regular season, Butler was just as effective during the playoffs; he averaged 22.7 points, 7.3 rebounds and 4.3 assists in six games of Chicago’s first round playoff series against the Boston Celtics.
But Chicago still has some major issues that need to be dealt with.
From a directionless front office to a subpar head coach to a flawed roster, the Bulls need to make some major changes if they wish to find success.
However, one change they should not make is getting rid of Butler. Here are the three main reasons why.
Butler may have plenty more to give
There is a possibility that Butler has reached his ceiling. And that would be just fine. After all, many have already labeled him a top-20 player, some even top-10.
But since it did take him some time to reach this point, and still being so young, there is also the chance that he could continue to improve. Under the proper coaching staff. Alongside the right teammates. Being used in the correct way.
So, with that in mind, Chicago should forget about rebuilding and simply build around Butler.
Look, the hot-shot scored a career-high 52 points against the Charlotte Hornets on Jan. 2.
This was after already scoring 40 vs. the Los Angeles Lakers on Nov. 20 and the Brooklyn Nets on Dec. 28. Then he followed up 52 with 42 in a win over the Toronto Raptors just five days later.
(He scored 40 once more against the Atlanta Hawks on Jan. 25. Just saying.)
Imagine if the star somehow has more to give.
Butler is a draw
The Bulls have always seemed to have a problem bringing in top dogs. Even with Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah on the squad, they could never quite attract so-called A-listers. But clearly, that has changed. With both Rajon Rondo and Dwayne Wade hopping aboard last July, Chicago finally reached their goal of signing big-time players.
Mostly, if not all, thanks to Butler.
Because active recruitment aside, he himself is a draw. Who would not want to play alongside such a stud?
Even Team USA teammates were said to have highly valued Butler’s basketball IQ during their quest for the gold medal last summer.
Obviously if Butler leaves and Rondo and/or Wade stick around, the organization still has star-power to its name. But there is something to be said for young stardom, in comparison to veteran talent.
Therefore, Butler brings more than just his on-court presence, to the table.
The Bulls are terrible at trades
Is Butler tradeable? Absolutely. But should Chicago’s front office be trusted with said task? Absolutely not.
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There is no denying how high the star’s trade value is right now. He had an excellent season, is clearly focused and is more motivated than ever to win. At 27 he has enough experience to be deemed a leader, but still comes with a pair of fresh legs. The Bulls could totally get a strong return for their asset.
But even if trading Butler was the right move, it is hard to say whether or not Chicago could make a worthy deal.
After all, they basically gave away Taj Gibson for free last year. Adding Doug McDermott and a draft pick was just salt to the wound.
What’s to say they would not be left with the short end of the stick in a Butler transaction? The only thing worse than carrying a heavy contract is dumping it for worse acquisitions.
The good news is vice president John Paxson recently came forward and said the Bulls were not shopping Butler. On the other hand, the only thing certain regarding the Chicago Bulls is that nothing is ever certain.
So will Jimmy Butler indeed be around in 2017-18? Stay tuned.