The Bernstein Brief: Bulls In New Territory

By Dan Bernstein–
CBSChicago.com senior columnist

(CBS) Finally recognizing they were never going to win a title with Jimmy Butler as their best player, the Bulls chose to hit the reset button Thursday evening during the NBA Draft. That’s what matters, beyond any quibbling about the actual value returned by the trade.

There’s no reason to compare what they received from the Timberwolves with any other past rumored deals, because we don’t know what would have ended up actually happening. Not to mention that Butler is worth less now — objectively — at another year older and less tread on his tires after playing 2,809 minutes last year. The Bulls got what they could get, and now it’s on to something else.

I wish I trusted that the coaching staff currently in place could develop young talent to maximize both the current resources and next year’s likely high lottery pick, but the fact is that I don’t. That doesn’t mean that I can’t appreciate the effort to try another path, however, hoping for more than pointless .500 seasons and first-round playoff exits. Enough people will still come to see this.

It would have been stupid to pay Butler super-max extension money for his age 29-34 denouement years, and now the Bulls needn’t worry about that situation, nor his ongoing refusals to be coached. They can buy out Rajon Rondo, let Dwyane Wade cash in on semi-retirement for the 50-game season he’ll choose to play and make something else out of the rest of it after acquiring Kris Dunn, Zach LaVine and Lauri Markkanen.

The Bulls had one asset to trade, and they did it. They are now no farther from an NBA championship and might have at least given themselves the opportunity to start to move closer.

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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