Bulls general manager Gar Forman: ‘We did not shop Jimmy Butler’
One of the bigger story lines during Thursday night’s 2016 NBA Draft surrounded whether or not the Chicago Bulls were going to deal superstar Jimmy Butler after trading Derrick Rose earlier in the week, effectively indicating the team planned to start from scratch on a massive rebuilding effort.
Reports indicated that the Bulls were negotiating with the Minnesota Timberwolves and Boston Celtics on a potential Butler trade, but the parties couldn’t make things work.
But to hear it from Bulls general manager Gar Forman, the team didn’t engage in such talks. Or more accurately, the Bulls never initiated them. Forman instead indicated the Bulls did receive some calls, though.
“During the draft, we started getting some texts and saw something on TV that we were in heated talks with somebody, I don’t know what it was saying,” Forman said, via CSN Chicago. “We were in no talks with anybody. There was no discussion during the entire draft this evening as far as Jimmy Butler was concerned.
“We have never made a call in regards to Jimmy Butler. We’ve talked about, we value Jimmy Butler, we’re very happy to have Jimmy Butler… We like Jimmy Butler, we did not shop Jimmy Butler. Did we receive calls? Of course we did, and that’s our job to listen to calls. We get calls on a lot of our players and that’s stuff that happens all throughout the league.”
Reports throughout the night indicated that not only were the Bulls in “serious talks” with the Timberwolves, per The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski, but were also negotiating with the Celtics as well, although both purported talks involved Providence point guard Kris Dunn, whom the Wolves drafted with the fifth pick.
Things reportedly fell apart on both fronts — assuming Forman’s claims there were no serious discussions involving moving Butler are in fact accurate — so it obviously makes sense for the Bulls GM to claim no such talk occurred, simply to assuage any hurt feelings on Butler’s behalf over the possibility he’s not wanted in Chicago.
In fact, Forman went out of his way to praise Butler, calling him a “special player” and that the team “never felt we were presented with anything where we would consider moving Jimmy.”