Now that we’ve had 12 minutes to digest the news that Derrick Rose — the former league MVP — has been traded by the Bulls to the Knicks for what amounts to a few decent but spare parts, let’s move on to the big question that’s on the minds of Timberwolves fans who are just coming to the news themselves: what, if anything, does this trade mean for any possible deal involving Bulls guard Jimmy Butler.
For quick review: a report suggests the Wolves could be in the mix to trade for Butler, a very good two-way player — but it’s unclear what beyond the No. 5 pick would be required to complete the deal.
Now, the discussion of how (if at all) the Rose news might give us insight into the Bulls’ plans as they pertain to Butler. Really, it could be viewed in either of these disparate ways:
1) The Bulls’ trade of Rose is a signal that they are in a full-on rebuilding mode, increasing the likelihood that if they could get the right deal for Butler — who will turn 27 before the season starts and signed a rich five-year contract last offseason — they would do it. This is certainly plausible, since we have seen teams enter into “fire sales,” quickly following one trade with more.
2) The Bulls’ trade of Rose is a signal that Butler is the player they intend to build around for the future and therefore this lessens the likelihood of a Butler trade. Rose and Butler were said to have a less-than-idea relationship. Rose had just one year left on his contract, and there were hardly any guarantees he will still be with the Bulls after next season. Maybe Butler won the power struggle?
And there is always the possibility that 3) The Bulls won’t trade with their old coach, Tom Thibodeau, regardless of whether they want to deal Butler. And let’s not forget 4) This Rose trade doesn’t matter at all one way or the other.
NBA rumor season: it’s fantastic!