The Jimmy Butler drama is just not going away.
That’s unfortunate for a Bulls front office that now has to start feeling the pressure of whether they gave up becoming an Eastern Conference power a year too soon?
With the rest of the NBA universe now catching up on the Kyrie Irving-Butler connection that was first reported in the Sun-Times on June 20, there’s now more evidence that Butler indeed saw a path to conference supremacy, which was possibly ignored by general manager Gar Forman and VP of basketball operations John Paxson.
The Sun-Times learned Monday that following his June meeting with Gar/Pax, Butler had plans to first fly back from Europe the night before free agency began to help with what he thought would be an expected meeting with then-free agent Kyle Lowry.
If the Bulls couldn’t have talked Lowry into taking far less money to join them – a likely scenario – Butler’s real hope was that Irving – with whom he became very close through Team USA – would be able to push a trade from Cleveland to join Butler in Chicago.
The Sun-Times first reported the Irving-Butler connection on June 20, writing:
“Irving has been contacting some of his former Team USA mates, letting them know that he might be willing to push for a trade, especially with the latest drama unfolding in Cleveland.
“Through back channels, Irving let it be known that he’d be interested in coming to Chicago.
“Clearly the asking price for Irving would be too rich for the Bulls, so a third team would have to be brought into the mix.’’
ESPN reported last week that Irving now had informed the Cavaliers that he wanted to be traded, and he listed four teams: Miami, San Antonio, New York and Minnesota.
Coincidentally, Chicago was on that list before Butler was traded on draft night, and obviously that’s now why the Timberwolves have surfaced as one of the four destination spots.
What the latest Irving news did bring to light once again was the he said-he said going on before…