In Dwyane Wade’s mind Bulls teammate Jimmy Butler is currently untouchable.
The three-time champion made that very clear on Friday, as Butler’s name was once again taking its usual monthly stroll through the trade rumor circuit.
“When you have guys in the prime of their career and they’re dominant, there’s no price for those players and there shouldn’t be,’’ Wade said of players that organizations should not even entertain in trade discussions. “You’re looking to add guys around them. To make a trade. For someone to give you a gift to help those guys become even greater.’’
Wade rattled off a short list of names around the Association that have reached that status right now, including the likes of LeBron James, James Harden, Russell Westbrook, Steph Curry, and when asked about Butler showed no hesitation in including him in that zip code.
“In my mind, he doesn’t [have a trade price],’’ Wade said. “ I think he’s the cornerstone of this franchise. He’s the reason I’m here, the reason we’re winning games. Not in my mind but it’s not my decision.’’
Wade also cleared up any notion that when he signed his free-agent contract with the Bulls this summer, there were no promises made to him by the front office that the roster wouldn’t be broken up if they saw fit.
“No promises were made,’’ Wade said. “You sign somewhere, obviously with the team that’s there knowing that things could change. Knowing that teams always have the opportunity to better their team and look for certain opportunities. So I don’t think that’s ever really been a thing that’s been said too much, because upstairs they always have a job to do to see how they can better their team, whether they can do it now or do it later.’’
The reason for the latest Butler trade chatter was because of a national story that indicated that the Bulls were going through back channels to let teams know that Butler was available.
However, a source close to the situation indicated that the Bulls have taken calls on Butler, but haven’t made any ever since there were heavy discussions with Boston leading into the June draft.
Then again, Butler has been in trade rumors for the last two seasons, going back to the 2014-15 playoff run in which it was obvious to everyone that Butler and Derrick Rose couldn’t play together following the loss to Cleveland.
Coach Fred Hoiberg, who has maintained that he is in constant dialogue with both general manager Gar Forman and VP of basketball operations John Paxson, was asked if there was any indication from his two bosses that Butler was being shopped, and simply replied, “No.’’
He then insisted, “I’m not going to comment on the rumors.’’
“Jimmy has been unbelievable in every possible way this year,’’ Hoiberg said. “I’ve talked about it all season long. His leadership, obviously his play speaks for itself. He’s playing as well as anybody in the league, especially when you look at this last week.
“Again, he’s done everything for this group that we have and we anticipate he’ll continue to do it.’’
When asked why rumors about Butler and the Bulls seem to spring up frequently, the second-year coach said, “Because that’s the world that we live in, unfortunately.’’
One trade the Bulls would discuss? Eastern Conference powerhouse Cleveland landing sharp-shooter Kyle Korver.
“Which reaction you want? You want my political correctness answer?’’ Wade said of the deal. “Oh man, the rich get richer.’’