Jimmy Butler doesn’t necessarily want to leave the Chicago Bulls. But when talking about his situation on the Bill Simmons Podcast, the Bulls swingman made it clear that whether he plays on the Bulls is not his call.
“Trust me, I get enough on my Instagram and Twitter about going to Boston,” Butler said (H/T Jay King, MassLive) “But the funniest part about it is everybody’s like, ‘Jimmy, don’t leave Chicago.’ I literally, I don’t control that. It’s not like I’m a free agent. I can’t do anything about that. And so people get mad: ‘Oh, we hate you. You want to leave.’ I never once said that. There’s absolutely nothing that I can do. Literally the only way is if I got traded.”
Beyond the Boston Celtics rumors referred to by Butler, there’s plenty to suggest a trade could happen.
Shortly after Chicago’s season ended, news broke that Butler was not pleased with the front office. More recently, it was revealed that the Minnesota Timberwolves (coached by Butler’s former head coach Tom Thibodeau) were interested in acquiring the All-Star guard.
Butler is technically correct. As he’s not a free agent, the Bulls have all official say in where he’ll play next season.
With that said, Butler has been an All-Star in each of the last two seasons and has been Second-Team All Defense in each of the last three. He’s a star, and generally speaking, stars have a lot of say in where they play — or at least where they don’t.
At the very least, if Butler made it known that he wanted to be in Chicago, it would be awfully hard to imagine him getting traded.
He may well end up with the Bulls next season. But right now, there’s a fair amount of smoke around him — too much to think that Butler isn’t at least open to getting moved.