Most major personalities with the Chicago Bulls will probably be back, from head coach Fred Hoiberg to Rajon Rondo. Team GM John Paxson wouldn’t say anything about Jimmy Butler, though.
“We’ve got a lot of guys under contract,” said Paxson, the executive vice president of basketball operations who was joined by general manager Gar Forman. “The landscape is such that to make significant change right now will be difficult.”
The Bulls tried to operate on two fronts last year, trying to get younger while bringing in veterans, and it added up to more mediocrity for a franchise that missed the postseason in 2016. Chicago won 41 games and got back to the playoffs this year as an eighth seed. After bowing out against Boston in the first round, there are some big issues facing the organization.
The list starts with Butler. The question is whether the Bulls try to build around the three-time All-Star or trade one of the league’s best two-way players.
Paxson didn’t commit either way.
“You always have to keep things open,” he said.
Butler’s name has circulated in trade rumors for a year, with Boston mentioned prominently as a landing spot. The lottery could help bring the picture into focus, with the Celtics owning the right to swap first-round picks with Brooklyn in this year’s draft.
Keeping Butler could go a long way toward Wade exercising his $23.8 million option to return for a second season with his hometown team.