Bulls general manager Gar Forman downplayed the need to reassure Jimmy Butler after his name surfaced in multiple trade rumors Thursday night.

“We appreciate Jimmy,” Forman said. “We value Jimmy. It’s our job to listen about any player on our roster when there’s interest. And obviously we call teams and express interest in players that they have.”

The Bulls held advanced discussions with the Celtics centered on Butler and the No. 3 pick, with whom they would’ve selected Providence guard Kris Dunn, league sources said. Several proposals were exchanged, including one with Jae Crowder and the Celtics’ No. 3 and No. 16 picks, league sources said.

But the Celtics have a reputation of trying to win trades and kept changing terms, none of which ultimately met the Bulls’ liking.

New Timberwolves President Tom Thibodeau said he drafted Dunn at No. 5 to keep him. Perhaps that’s why two league sources said the Timberwolves’ offer of Ricky Rubio and the No. 5 pick for Butler was made before the draft, not after Dunn slipped past the No. 3 pick. Few executives envisioned Dunn dropping to No. 5.

“Obviously, we liked him,” Forman said of Dunn. “He’s a very good player.”


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