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Jimmy Butler and front office come out of meeting in ‘right direction’

Bulls star Jimmy Butler finally had his say.

It didn’t come on national television with talk-show host Jimmy Kimmel, nor was it churned out in a blog based on speculation.

Instead, it came in a long-awaited face-to-face meeting with the men in the Bulls’ front office.

According to a team source, Butler met Monday with vice president of basketball operations John Paxson and general manager Gar Forman. And while details of what was discussed were vague, the source said both sides came out ‘‘very satisfied with the direction.’’

It was the first time Butler had spoken face-to-face with Paxson and Forman since the Bulls’ season ended with a first-round playoff loss to the Boston Celtics in late April.

‘‘Jimmy came away feeling appreciated and, more importantly, knows he’s not being shopped [on the trade market],’’ the source said.

Those were two keys for Butler, especially considering how Paxson and Forman seem to have gone out of their way to downplay his importance, referring him to as just a piece in their attempt to build a winning franchise and consistently leaving open the possibility of a trade.

The source said Paxson told Butler that if a team called with a trade proposal that was stacked in the Bulls’ favor, the front office would explore it. But Butler always has been realistic enough to understand that was a possible scenario.

What he hasn’t understood are comments such as one Paxson made in February, when he said: ‘‘There are very few guys [in the NBA] who you build around. This is a team game. You build with players. We are building with Jimmy right now.’’

The Bulls appear to be set on bringing back a similar-looking roster to the one they had this season, leaving them with a lot of money to spend at this time next summer. That means one more year of the trio of Butler, Dwyane Wade and Rajon Rondo.

The idea of blowing it all up and going young continues to be unappealing to the Bulls.

‘‘The landscape is such that to make significant change right now will be difficult,’’ Paxson said last month. ‘‘From that perspective, to think that we could just up and massively move pieces and parts is not realistic.’’

Follow me on Twitter @suntimes_hoops.


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