Report: Dwyane Wade could opt out if Jimmy Butler is traded this summer

While Jimmy Butler’s name was tossed about in multiple trade rumors leading up to the NBA trade deadline, the Bulls decided to keep their star. Reports indicate, however, that a rebuilding project may take place in the summer.

The rebuilding project could include a Butler trade. If it does, it will likely lead to Dwyane Wade’s departure from Chicago.

“The Chicago Bulls are more interested in making the playoffs than holding a fire sale at the moment. But the big picture plan is to hit the reset button this summer,” a report from Bleacher Report’s Ric Bucher said. “All-Star guard Jimmy Butler is the linchpin to everything. The Bulls continue to have doubts about building around him and he would yield the biggest return in trade. If Butler goes, Dwyane Wade is expected to opt out of the $23 million that he has coming next season.”

Chicago’s decision to keep Butler around for the remainder of the season was fine.

More often than not, the offseason is the best time to trade a player like that. In the offseason, more teams have salary cap space — taking some of the reigns off that we see during the regular season. If more teams are involved in discussions, the Bulls’ chances of getting a great offer are increased.

Chicago’s previous strategy is what needs to be picked apart.

Did the Bulls really think that adding Wade and Rajon Rondo would give them a chance to compete with the Cleveland Cavaliers in the East? Did they really that that was a good way to build around Butler? Chicago’s doubts about building around Butler may well be founded. But adding two veterans well past their primes didn’t exactly give the experiment a fair chance to succeed.

Additionally, is simply making the playoffs this season that important? Cleveland is the big dog in the East. There’s no question about that. But for the sake of argument, let’s say that the Cavs will not return to the finals in 2017.

Are the Bulls really next in line? Would they really have a great chance at upending teams like the Boston Celtics, Toronto Raptors and Washington Wizards?

The decision to keep Butler was fine. The reasoning was terrible.

Chicago is only in position to have an early round playoff exit. Its fans have seen plenty of those in the post Michael Jordan era. The decisions made by this franchise — both short and long term — have not given the Bulls the best chance to win a championship.

At this point, the best hope for fans in Chicago is that this summer will mark the end of that. If so, it could include Wade himself departing after just one season with his home-town team.