Jimmy Butler wants to return, hopes Bulls keep Rajon Rondo

CHICAGO -- All-Star swingman Jimmy Butler knows he will be the subject of trade rumors yet again this summer, but he repeated his desire to stay with the Bulls for the long term after Friday's series-ending loss to the Boston Celtics.

In the process, Butler also acknowledged that he would like for Rajon Rondo's team option to be picked up this summer.

"Of course," Butler said. "He's been huge for us this year, man."

Molding these young guys into the type of player that they need to be on this basketball floor, in that film room, around everybody. And obviously, the way he plays the game, getting everybody involved, yeah I love playing with him. Him and D-Wade, all these other guys. But I don't know what the future holds for anybody. So I'll sit back and wait on that time to come."

Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg echoed similar sentiments regarding Rondo.

"Obviously we played great basketball with Rajon toward the end of the season," Hoiberg said. "With the exception of the New York game, that's the game he tore the ligament in the wrist. ... He was terrific.

"He was great. The highs and lows that we had this season, he found a way to continue to battle through that and play his best basketball when it mattered most. I love Rondo. I love coaching him. I love everything about the kid. He was so good to have out there on the floor. And when we put him back in the starting lineup with Niko [Mirotic], with Jimmy, we got a lot accomplished. We played an exciting style of basketball. A fun style of basketball to watch, a fun style of basketball to coach. And Rajon was responsible for a lot of that."

Dwyane Wade has a player option worth almost $24 million for next season. He has said in the past that he "would be a liar to say that I want to play on a team with all 21-year-olds," and acknowledged that he wants to wait to see if the Bulls move Butler before making a decisions, but many in the Bulls' organization believe that Wade will pick his option this summer because of the fact it's highly unlikely that he will have another offer for next season worth that much money.

For his part, Wade did not want to get into specifics regarding his decision after the game.

"I have a lot of time," Wade said. "I'm far away from that now; just got through this, 14th NBA season. It's, for me, identified with championships. If I'm not winning a championship I'm never satisfied from that standpoint, but you take things out of it, you go back and look at the season and see what you could have done better individually. You put that [in the head] and go from there, so that's what I will look at. I am not worried about my future because I know it's basketball; I'm not really concerned with it now."

Another intriguing twist Friday night came late in the fourth quarter when fans started to scream "Fire Hoiberg" throughout the United Center. While it's clear that many fans would rather not see Hoiberg back with the Bulls next season, Bulls general manager Gar Forman has been on record earlier in the year as saying Hoiberg would be back to start next season.

One of the reasons, Forman gave that declaration is because of the fact that Hoiberg still has three years, and almost $15 million left on his contract.

"Sure, I understand the frustration [from fans]," Hoiberg said. "It was a frustrating game there was no doubt about that, to go out this way. Again, the high note to start this series, the way we got out to a 2-0 lead, we couldn't finish it off. I thought we fought and battled, especially in Game 5 in Boston. We didn't have it tonight so I do understand."

As for Mirotic, he will be a restricted free agent this summer, but he is hopeful he'll be able to return to the Bulls next season.

"I'm going to wait till July," Mirotic said. "But I can tell you my first option is Chicago."
Copyright © 2019 ESPN Internet Ventures. All rights reserved.