Disappointing season has front office shopping Mirotic and Rondo
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It appears the Bulls’ front office is looking to shake things up after all.
According to multiple sources, the Bulls have been shopping guard Rajon Rondo and forward Nikola Mirotic in hopes of bolstering the roster and making a second-half run in the wide-open Eastern Conference.
But one of the sources said neither player is generating the kind of return general manager Gar Forman wants.
‘‘Obviously, you knew that would be the case with Rondo,’’ the source said. ‘‘But [the Bulls] don’t like what they’re hearing back on [Mirotic], either. Then again, that’s a [front office] that tends to overvalue its assets.’’
But Forman and vice president of basketball operations John Paxson would be wise to consider the disappointment Jimmy Butler is feeling these days.
Butler never has been shy about recruiting other players to the Bulls if it means building a better roster around him, but he’s uncomfortable getting involved in front-office issues, especially because of his loyalty to his teammates. Butler will help bring in new players during an offseason, but he doesn’t want to be the reason they’re packing to go by the trade deadline.
So although sources said Butler has expressed his displeasure with the roster to anyone in the front office who has asked in recent weeks, he’s not the type of guy to name names.
‘‘Jimmy’s attitude is [the front office is] paid to fix it, so fix it,’’ the source said.
‘‘I take everything personal,’’ Butler said after the Bulls’ embarrassing showing in a loss Friday to the Atlanta Hawks. ‘‘I hate losing, I’ll leave it at that. Losing is something I don’t accept, we shouldn’t accept. We gotta go out and be better.
‘‘But it’s just talk. No matter what we say, if we don’t go out there and do it, what the hell is talking about it going to do? We’ve been up and down like this all year.’’
Even the Bulls’ victory Saturday against the Sacramento Kings felt a bit empty, considering it took late-game heroics from Dwyane Wade to beat a team that had won only two of its last 10 games.
Rondo lost his starting job last month and let the front office know he would like to be elsewhere. The problem is that his reputation — deserved or not — makes it hard to trade him.
Mirotic, meanwhile, never has lived up to the hype that preceded him. And while the Bulls need his outside shooting, as inconsistent as it is, his defense is lacking.
The bottom line on Mirotic is that he doesn’t affect games consistently enough. Through Saturday, he was the 30th-ranked power forward in the league in real plus/minus this season.
In the last month, Mirotic was solid in victories against the Charlotte Hornets, Cleveland Cavaliers and Toronto Raptors but disappeared in losses to the Oklahoma City Thunder, Dallas Mavericks and Hawks.
In the four games Mirotic missed with the flu recently, the Bulls went 2-2, including one of their best victories of the month — on the road against the Memphis Grizzlies — with Paul Zipser in the starting lineup.
That’s a perfect microcosm of what the Bulls’ experience with Mirotic has become.