League exec: Jimmy Butler is "as good as gone" from Chicago

Kevin O'Connor is reporting that according to at least one league executive Bulls swingman Jimmy Butler will almost certainly be on the move this offseason. Via O'Connor on The Ringer:

Paul George and Jimmy Butler were involved in trade rumors at the deadline, and all indications are that those conversations will resume this offseason. One front-office source told me recently that Butler is “as good as gone,” while George sounds like a player who wants out.

The Celtics will obviously be mentioned in the Butler sweepstakes until he's finally dealt as they've been linked to him going back to the middle of last season. My thinking is Danny Ainge's decision on what to do with his Nets pick and treasure trove of assets will very much depend on how the Celtics fare this postseason. If the C's make a run to the Eastern Conference finals and really compete (maybe even win!?!) I'm not so sure how inclined Ainge will be to decimate the roster for Butler, and keeping this years pick from our friends in Brooklyn at the top of a front-loaded draft might be the best course of action in terms of long-term Celtics' success.

The Celtics certainly wouldn't be the only suitors for Butler as the Nuggets, 76ers, and Timberwolves have all been linked to trade rumors with the Bulls leading up to this past trade deadline. A few weeks back Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Bulls front office was divided over whether Butler should be involved in their long-term plans or if should they go for a full rebuild and get the most they can for their young star.

Butler has 2 years and $36 million on his contract with the Bulls that runs though the 2019 season with a player option for another $18 million for the 2019-20 season as well - which he will almost certainly decline so he can re-up for an extension even if he's happy wherever he is. He'll be 29 at the end of his deal as it stands, the perfect time to cash in on a monstrous contract. Butler at $18 million a year is looking like a serious bargain for the next couple of years though with contracts set to go through the roof under the new CBA.

Butler is a really good player but I'll be glad when his trade saga is finally over. The Celtics definitely have had some interest but it seems clear Ainge isn't moving from whatever it is he thinks acquiring Jimmy B is worth. It would be great to add another star of his caliber to this current Celtics group, but I'm not so sure adding some top talent in this draft, which you would have signed at rookie scale for several seasons, isn't the better play.

Photo Credit - David Zalubowski/Associated Press

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