The Denver Nuggets have reached out to the Chicago Bulls about a potential Jimmy Butler trade according to ESPN’s Jeff Goodman. The potential deal would include multiple young players, not including their standout center Nikola Jokic.
Jokic aside, Denver has a cast of talented young players, including Kenneth Faried, Gary Harris, Will Barton, Jamal Murray, Emmanuel Mudiay, Juancho Hernangomez and Mason Plumlee. Wilson Chandler also has one year left at $12 million remaining on his deal with the Nuggets.
Denver also owns the No. 13 pick in Thursday’s NBA Draft.
Butler has maintained he wants to stay in Chicago, but after being named both an All-Star starter and to the All-NBA Third Team, the league’s premier two-way wing is in line for a Designated Player Contract worth more than $200 million over five years. That’s a lot of money to shell out for a Bulls franchise that has refused to acknowledge Butler as its building block for the future.
This makes sense for the Bulls
Chicago had a chance to deal Butler to the Celtics at the deadline, but Boston didn’t want to add Jae Crowder to the mix. That was a deal-breaker for the Bulls, who wanted an established player and picks in return for their All-Star forward.
In this deal, they get just that.
The Bulls could take back a mix of young players with varying skill sets, as well as land Denver’s lottery pick. They could use those players to build a solid foundation around head coach Fred Hoiberg, who struggled coaching Butler and his cast of older players.
This trade also makes sense for the Nuggets
Denver was a superstar away from having a legitimate playoff team last season. But Jokic’s emergence wasn’t enough. The Nuggets needed a reliable perimeter scorer to stay afloat in the West.
In Butler, they get that.
The Nuggets haven’t had a legitimate superstar since they traded Carmelo Anthony to the Knicks in 2013. In Butler, they get a star who’s only wanted to be accepted as a franchise player. In an odd way, Butler to the Nuggets seems to be a good fit.
Odds a deal gets done
The Nuggets have a ton of young talent, but they don’t have a pick in the top 10. The players they have are enticing, but a higher pick could be the difference. For that reason, I give this trade a 40-percent chance of being completed.
The Bulls are looking to move on from Butler, and the Nuggets provide that opportunity. But they could find a higher pick in this draft with at least one better young player who moves the needle. That’s something the Nuggets just can’t offer.