Less than a calendar year after signing a five-year, $92.3 million contract with the Chicago Bulls, it appears that All-Star guard Jimmy Butler isn’t happy about the tactics his team’s front office is using.
Bulls general manager Gar Forman indicated at the end of a disappointing 2015-16 season that there are no players currently on the roster that are untouchable as it relates to a trade.
He also made sure to note that the team will “explore all options” in looking to upgrade the roster.
It now appears that Butler isn’t happy with that statement and what the Bulls might have planned for the summer months:
“That comment didn’t sit well with Butler, sources said, merely adding to his growing wariness regarding Forman that stems from Butler feeling slighted during failed negotiations on his rookie extension,” the Chicago Tribune‘s K.C. Johnson reported. “Butler ultimately rejected the Bulls’ four-year, $44 million offer, won Most Improved Player honors for 2014-15 and signed a five-year, $92.3 million deal with a player option for the final season last July.”
There are a lot of layers to this story.
First off, reports during the regular season told us a story of a Bulls roster that wasn’t happy with the special treatment Butler received from the organization.
Secondly, Butler was the face of a Bulls team that finished just two games over .500, missing out on the playoffs altogether.
For his part, Butler saw all of his major shooting numbers decline from what was a breakout 2014-15 campaign.
Finally, there promises to be some roster turnover in Chicago during the summer. Joakim Noah is set to become a free agent and is unlikely to return.
Meanwhile, All-Star big man Pau Gasol will likely exercise an early-termination option on his contract to receive one more long-term deal before he calls it quits.
If Butler sees the Bulls lose these two important pieces, he could very well grow even more weary of the team’s plans, which could lead to the All-Star requesting a trade.
All this coming less than a year after Butler committed to the Bulls over the long term. It also comes about a month after reports suggested the Bulls could look to trade Butler.
It really is a dramatic shift in the dynamic in Chicago heading into an uncertain offseason for the fledgling franchise.