Jimmy Butler reportedly informed the Cleveland Cavaliers he would rather stay with the Chicago Bulls than join the defending Eastern Conference champions. Perhaps now we know why.
A Cleveland source close to the situation told the Chicago Sun-Times’ Joe Cowley late Tuesday or early Wednesday that several of the Cavaliers players who had been trying to persuade Butler to push for a trade from the Bulls to the Cavs in recent days have changed their tune. The players reportedly now are warning Butler to stay away from a suddenly volatile situation in Cleveland.
The Cavs, of course, parted ways with general manager David Griffin on Monday, evoking an interesting response from LeBron James and casting even more uncertainty over the four-time NBA MVP’s future beyond next season. Rumors have been circulating that James could leave Cleveland in 2018 — perhaps to join the Los Angeles Lakers or Clippers — and that obviously would shake the NBA landscape to its core.
Once considered a threat in the Eastern Conference for the foreseeable future, Cleveland now is facing several questions, the biggest of which involves James’ plans and whether the Cavs will keep intact a core comprised of him, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love.
Butler has been the subject of trade rumors for a while, with one NBA executive even saying he expected the three-time All-Star to end up with either the Cavaliers or Boston Celtics. According to Cowley, Butler wants to play for a championship team and even was ready to push Bulls GM Gar Forman and vice president of basketball operations John Paxson to move him to Cleveland on Tuesday afternoon before the aforementioned Cavs players started to backtrack in their prodding.
Thumbnail photo via Ken Blaze/USA TODAY Sports Images
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