(CBS) Accustomed to hearing his name in trade rumors by this point, Bulls star Jimmy Butler brushed off the latest speculation on a late-night national stage Thursday.
Appearing on “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” Butler once again pronounced his love of playing in Chicago, as he has many times.
“It’s kind of hard not to pay attention,” Butler told Kimmel. “Everywhere I go, especially here in L.A., everybody says, ‘Oh, he’s coming to the Lakers, he’s in L.A.'”
Kimmel responded, “Why aren’t you coming to the Lakers?”
“Because I love Chicago so very much,” Butler replied. “Thank you, thank you, Chicago. And they took a chance on me in 2011 with the 30th pick, so I’m forever grateful for that.”
A three-time All-Star, Butler was named third-team all-NBA this past season after a career year in which he averaged 23.9 points, 6.2 rebounds and 5.5 assists per game.
Butler has found himself amid trade rumors ever since the Bulls held serious talks with the Celtics about him on NBA Draft night last June. On multiple occasions, he has expressed a desire to remain in Chicago while also saying he understands the business side of the game. Butler is under contract for two more years, with a player option for 2019-’20. While plenty can change before then, it’s expected Butler will opt out of his deal for 2019-’20 given the escalating player salaries and changing economics of the game.