Besides the Chicago Bulls efforts to re-sign Jimmy Butler, there are also the Los Angeles Lakers in the picture of signing the restricted free agent.
Some are even reporting Butler, looking for a one-year deal and hoping to capitalize on the rising salary cap in 2016, prefers the Lakers to the Bulls. There have been talks about an ongoing rift between Butler and Derrick Rose since the end of the playoffs for the Bulls (conference semifinals), but there’s nothing more than hearsay to refer to.
Butler averaged 20 points per game last season and made the All-Star game. He established himself as more than just a very good defender and rising wing player, but perhaps as one of the best shooting guards in the league, undisturbed by an injury and getting more touches and responsibility in an improved Bulls offense. He averaged 22.9 points per game in the playoffs and the Bulls were fantastic whenever he was on the floor compared to his short moments of rest, leading the league in minutes last season.
What good would he be on the Lakers? Only if they use him as a small forward because maybe Butler hasn’t heard, but the shooting guard spot is locked, for good. Obviously, it’s possibly to play smaller lineups and Kobe Bryant won’t be playing every game, 35 minutes a night. But there are also minutes for D’Angelo Russell and Jordan Clarkson to think of, not to mention touches on the ball. Is it the best situation for Butler?
And in any case, even if the Lakers are thinking about him as a replacement and heir to Bryant, Butler wants a short contract, just for one year. Lets say Bryant retires in 2016. And Butler? He’ll be looking for a new home again, possibly bolting after just one season.
But this all might be talk that means nothing. The Bulls intend to match any offer Butler gets. Even if prefers to go somewhere else, he might not have much of a choice, although if he doesn’t get any offers, maybe we’ll see him take the qualifying offer and leave himself free to hit free agency in 2016.