Chicago Bulls Rumors: Jimmy Butler Max Contract Priority, Taj Gibson Trade Option, Dwyane Wade Target With Heat Opt Out?

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Jun 08, 2015 11:59 AM EDT
Dwyane Wade #3 of the Miami Heat is defended by Jimmy Butler #21 of the Chicago Bulls
Dwyane Wade #3 of the Miami Heat is defended by Jimmy Butler #21 of the Chicago Bulls during a game at American Airlines Arena on December 14, 2014 in Miami, Florida. "

The Chicago Bulls have a new head coach in Fred Hoiberg and moving forward this offseason the main priority is a new deal with Jimmy Butler in free agency and it could be for a max contract and this comes as Dwyane Wade could be a free agent target if he opts out with the Miami Heat, while Taj Gibson could be a trade target for teams this summer.

The Bulls are coming off of another strong season, but after yet another early exit from the playoffs, the team has Hoiberg in and Tom Thibodeau out as coach. According to the Chicago Tribune, the front office and Thibodeau did not see eye to eye on many issues and that is partly why he was pushed out despite a number of winning seasons and playoffs appearances. Hoiberg now has a five year contract worth over $20 million after a run at Iowa State and the front office feels that he is a better overall fit for the team.

Jimmy Butler now is the main priority for the Bulls, as he has established himself as one of the best young players in the league and he is headed towards free agency. The Bulls are not likely to lose Butler, as he is a restricted free agent this summer, but the fact that he is hitting the market in any form is always risky. The team wanted to sign Butler to a contract extension last year, but he rejected that and after the way this season went, it was a very smart move. The team could look at Wade also, as the Miami Herald reports he may opt out of his deal with the Heat this summer.

Butler is in line to get a max deal and while some teams could try and price out the Bulls with an offer sheet, Pro Basketball Talk reported earlier in the season that Chicago would match "any offers" for Butler on the market. Butler won the most improved player award this season and he comes in after averaging 20.0 points, 5.8 rebounds and three assists per game. Butler put up career high numbers last year and helped the team stay above water when Derrick Rose was injured.

Butler has improved in each of the last three seasons and after putting up 13 points per game last year, he really put his game on another level. The team is looking to keep Butler and they also may shop Taj Gibson, as the Chicago Tribune reports that Gibson could be on the trading block this summer after the "emergence of Nikola Mirotic." The team has Pau Gasol playing at a high level and with Joakim Noah locked in as well, Gibson could be the odd man out.

Gibson came up in trade rumors last year and he has two years left on his deal and will be a free agent heading into the 2017-18 season. Gibson is getting paid $8.5 million and $8.95 million over the next two seasons and with Hoiberg taking over as head coach, the team could look at making some moves. Butler and Derrick Rose have been able to get things done for the Bulls, but the team may want more offense moving forward, as they tried to sign Carmelo Anthony last summer. 

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