The Bernstein Brief: Bulls’ Butler Call Seems Too Late

By Dan Bernstein–
CBSChicago.com senior columnist

(CBS) Bulls wing Jimmy Butler might be enjoying the fact that he’s now a big enough star to merit special meetings with his bosses about his future, as he did Monday, but in context, it all feels mostly pointless.

In a league in which peers measure success by championships, Butler is stuck in an impossible position — under contract to a team with no chance of winning a title and no apparent road map to get closer to one and professing publicly his desire to be the centerpiece of such a winner even though he isn’t good enough to make that work.

And that’s even assuming executives John Paxson and Gar Forman could build something credible, which at this point is a stretch.

Butler is turning 28 in September and overworked, noticeably worn down at the end of this last season that the Bulls closed by quitting on their series with the Celtics. The time to get real value for him has come and gone, with any trade being more of a forced reset than a quest for material prospects. He’s also one more All-NBA third-team honor from vesting a possible extension of five years and $246.4 million, a questionable price to pay for a star whose presence doesn’t by itself a contender make.

What exactly the Bulls and Butler are thinking at the moment is a mystery, with Paxson keeping his options open and Butler talking out of both sides of his mouth. It might be interesting if it mattered.

Dan Bernstein is a co-host of 670 The Score’s “Bernstein and Goff Show” in afternoon drive. You can follow him on Twitter  @dan_bernstein and read more of his columns here.

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