Since the Chicago Bulls' season ended when they were eliminated from the playoffs by the Boston Celtics, trade speculation has been growing surrounding the future of Jimmy Butler with the team.
Before the trade deadline back in February, there were dozens of rumors regarding Butler's future with the Bulls, and many believed he would be traded away.
Nevertheless, the trade deadline came and went with no movement of the 27-year-old, and stayed with the team for the rest of the season, which ended with a 4-2 first round series loss to the Celtics in the playoffs.
Now the Bulls are in their offseason, Butler has repeated his desire to stay with the team. However, it appears as though the team's executives don't think the same way.
Chicago's executive vice president John Paxson and general manager Gar Forman have only added fuel to the fire regarding the trade rumors involving the three-time All-Star.
David Haugh of the Chicago Tribute recently spoke to Paxson where he asked about Butler's future with the team and he gave a rather cryptic answer.
The Bulls vice president said: "You always have to keep things open...We're going to sit down with Jimmy again...define to him our thoughts.''
That's not exactly saying Butler will definitely be playing for Chicago next season, like most, if not all, Bulls fans were hoping to hear. If anything, it's leaning towards the team going in the direction of rebuild next season and beyond, and cashing in on Butler's value.
However, that might not be the case, as they're reportedly going to be bringing back Rajon Rondo, Nikola Mirotic and head coach Fred Hoiberg next season.
Until we get some more solid answers from Paxson and Forman, expect the trade speculation involving Butler to increase throughout the rest of the offseason.