The Chicago Bulls are one team to keep a close eye on as Thursday’s 3 p.m. ET NBA trade deadline nears.
Bulls forward Jimmy Butler is one of the best players in the league and arguably the No. 1 trade target for contending teams, like the Boston Celtics, to pursue ahead of the deadline.
Even if the Bulls trade Butler and decide to rebuild, they could still look to acquire a piece for now and the future by acquiring Philadelphia 76ers center Jahlil Okafor.
“I think Chicago is open to Okafor regardless of whether they do a Butler trade or not,” Adrian Wojnarowski said Wednesday night during a Facebook Live. “If they do a Butler trade and they go younger, Okafor makes even more sense in that.
“But, as of (Wednesday night), sources have told me Chicago is still trying to get Nikola Mirotic in a deal to Philadelphia. He’s a restricted free agent, so you have to make a decision on paying him. They’ve been shopping him around, they’ve talked to some other teams. I don’t know that Mirotic alone would do it, I think there probably would have to be something else, a draft pick, in there to get Okafor.”
Butler has been linked to the Celtics in trade rumors many times over the last year, but talks reportedly haven’t been very substantive this week. That certainly could change Thursday when the deadline approaches, though.
Okafor, like Butler, has been thrown into rumors quite a bit this season. NBA.com’s David Aldridge reported Tuesday that Okafor “will be moved” before the deadline. The 76ers have a logjam at center with Okafor, Nerlens Noel and Joel Embiid all vying for playing time in the frontcourt.
The Bulls need to do something, and their smartest option is to trade Butler and rebuild. Making the decision to rebuild, though, always is tough for a franchise.
Thumbnail photo via John Geliebter/USA TODAY Sports Images
Thumbnail photo via Jan 14, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Chicago Bulls guard Jimmy Butler (21) drives to the net as Philadelphia 76ers center Jahlil Okafor (8) defends during the fourth quarter of the game at the Wells Fargo Center. The Chicago Bulls won the game 115-111 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: John Geliebter-USA TODAY Sports