But as the National Basketball Association draft was getting started Thursday night, the Chicago Bulls All-Star left the market.
Just moments after the 2017 NBA Draft kicked off, the Bulls and Timberwolves finalized a blockbuster trade that sent Jimmy Butler to Minnesota in exchange for the No. 7 overall pick, Zach LaVine and Kris Dunn.
LaVine was miscast as a point guard for the early part of his career and showed nice improvement past year after head coach Tom Thibodeau started playing him more as a shooting guard. Despite this, Chicago continues to shop Butler and may be close to dealing him away. The Bulls have a decision to make with Rajon Rondo and whether to pick up his team option for next season. What's going to happen with Paul George? Cleveland doesn't own a first-round pick in this year's draft or 2019, and Love is their only asset that would return them anything of real value.
This is clearly a lopsided deal, but is it really THAT bad for the Bulls? Chicago then used the No. 7 pick on 7-foot Arizona power forward Lauri Markkanen, while Minnesota received Creighton big man Justin Patton at No. 16.
"One of the sources indicated that Butler would even push his front office to get the deal done, which is a huge change of direction for Butler, who has told both general manager Gar Forman and vice president of basketball operations John Paxson numerous times over the previous year that he didn't want to be traded", added the report. According to rumors it leaves LeBron James furious, Kyrie Irving and several others thinking about pushing for trades, and the situation with the Chicago Bulls and Jimmy Butler isn't looking good either. He made 39.3 percent of the 6.6 three-pointers he shot per game, and George would probably be an even more effective three-pointer shooter with the open looks that he'd get in Cleveland.
The Bulls are heavily shopping Butler before the NBA Draft and two teams have emerged as favorites to land Butler: the Cavs and the Boston Celtics. The team managed to get into the No. 8 spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs, but couldn't get past the Boston Celtics in the first round.
The Bulls have had problems with point guards who can't shoot, and Dunn's splits make Cameron Payne look like Kyle Korver. Only in July did Howard sign a three-year deal worth $70.5 million with the Hawks where he averaged 13.5 points and 12.7 rebounds per game.
"In high school I told my trainer Keith I wanted to be the No. 1 player in the country and the No. 1 draft pick, so it was a goal I set out there, and that's what I was striving for", Fultz said.