The Chicago Bulls still haven’t decided if they want to keep rolling with a team that’s built around Jimmy Butler, or blow the whole thing up and trade their rising franchise player. Whatever they decide, it’ll also mean making a decision on Dwyane Wade’s future.
Wade didn’t come to Chicago to be part of a rebuilding project, even if it’s a short one. This season isn’t going according to plan, with the Bulls barely hanging on to 8th in the East with a 20-21 record. Wade is doing OK, averaging 18.8 points per game in his 14th NBA season, turning 35 just a few days ago. But Rajon Rondo has been a disaster, the bench has been inconsistent at best, and while Butler has been fantastic; good enough to earn a starting spot in the 2017 NBA All-Star game, it hasn’t been enough.
I would be a liar to say that I want to play on a team with all 21-year-olds. You know what I mean? And be a part of the future building. I would be a fool to say that. But you also want to be in the best position for what you think is for you at that time, too. One of the main reasons I’m here is Jimmy. He’s the one who called me and got me to come here. So that’s a big part of my decision and everything else, is what Jimmy’s doing, what his future looks like and all that. And I’ve made it very clear. So I have no idea from that standpoint. You just have to wait and see and then see what works out.
And it’s easy to understand where Wade is coming from. While winning a championship wasn’t the main thing on his mind when leaving the Miami Heat, he did expect to be part of something a bit more successful in Chicago. The Bulls didn’t look like contenders once they assembled their team for the season, but it should have been closer to the top 4 in the East than struggling to win a place in the playoffs, something they failed to do last season. The Bulls haven’t missed the postseason two years in a row since their post-dynasty stretch, going 6 straight years without making the playoffs.
No one is thinking that far ahead, but the Bulls are considering sending Butler away and having a fresh start. The thing is, whether Wade wants to or not, rebuilds don’t usually include 35-year old players who make $23 million a season or more. Wade has a player option for $23.8 million next season. Obviously, if he doesn’t like the direction the Bulls are heading in he can become a free agent, but I’m not sure a team is going to give him that much money next summer, even with the numbers he’s putting up. The generous offer from the Denver Nuggets which Wade praised so much isn’t necessarily going to be there in six months.
The Bulls are also buyers in this market, but with a potential rebuild in mind, are never going to go all in trying to steady the ship. They’re willing to give away Rajon Rondo for nothing. A buyout won’t happen because Rondo knows it’s going to be slim pickings for him once he hits free agency. To make a long story short, this is an organization that will be hitting the reset button at some point. They just wanna drag out that moment as much as possible.