Kyrie Irving is ready to move on from the Cleveland Cavaliers. The All-Star point guard reportedly requested a trade last week after deciding he no longer wanted to share the spotlight with LeBron James.
Irving has reportedly given the Cavs a list of four preferred destinations: San Antonio, Miami, New York and Minnesota. Apparently, there was another team Irving wanted to go to before the NBA draft. That’s the Chicago Bulls.
Irving was hoping to be traded to Chicago to play alongside Jimmy Butler before the All-NBA wing was traded to Minnesota, according to David Aldridge of NBA.com.
Another league source said that Irving made his initial trade request before last month’s Draft, in hopes of being traded to Chicago and playing with All-Star swingman Jimmy Butler. Just before Griffin and the team decided to part ways, Griffin had been working on a three-team deal that would have brought Butler to the Cavs.
Butler was traded to the Timberwolves on draft day for Kris Dunn, Zach LaVine and the No. 7 pick. The Bulls used that selection on Arizona big man Lauri Markkanen.
It’s no surprise that Minnesota is now on the list of teams Irving hopes to play for.
Butler and Irving were both a member of the 2016 USA Olympic team that won gold in Brazil. The two are reportedly close and were recorded playing in a pickup game together earlier this weekend.
It is fair to wonder what the Bulls could have traded for Irving. Chicago’s recent draft picks have struggled to make an impact and the team’s strategy in free agency had them signing veterans like Dwyane Wade and Rajon Rondo instead of young players with upside and trade value.
The Bulls are now squarely in rebuilding mode. Chicago will be expected to be one of the worst teams in the NBA this season and should be looking at a high lottery pick in the 2018 draft. Butler remains under contract for two more seasons in Minnesota.
The Irving trade rumors are just starting to heat up. It appears that the Bulls could have put themselves in that mix before deciding to trade their franchise player.