Three-time NBA All-Star Jimmy Butler finally hired an agent after playing a year without a representative. KC Johnson of the Chicago Tribune reported that Butler hired agent Bernie Lee of Lee Basketball Services, who used to represent former Bulls players Mike James and John Lucas III.

New agent to play major role in potential trade

According to Johnson, Butler’s decision to hire an agent is a bit surprising since he’s still under contract for two more years. However, if the Bulls look to gauge his value again in the trade market, Lee’s presence will be surely be needed in case Chicago’s front-office decides to engage in trade negotiations involving his All-Star client.

More than often, agents – especially the influential ones - exhibited the power to steer their clients to certain destinations, although recent reports are stating the Bulls will likely keep their best player for next season.

“While Lee won’t be tasked with negotiating a new contract for Butler anytime soon, he’ll likely be involved in any serious trade talks the Bulls have involving his new client,” Hoops Rumors reported.

Butler, who averaged 23.9 points, 6.2 rebounds and 5.5 assists last season, made the All-NBA third team after the stellar performance of the Bulls. But, unlike Steph Curry, Kevin Durant and John Wall, Butler will only be eligible for the designated veteran player’s extension if he makes the All-NBA team again in either of the next two seasons.

By then, Butler can sign a whopping 5-year, $246 million contract extension.

Meeting yields positive outcome

In a separate article, Johnson reported the recent meeting between Butler and the Bulls front-office ended up well with the All-Star feeling appreciated and assured he won’t be shopped this summer. The former Marquette standout showed to Gar Forman and John Paxon that he can be the franchise player they can build around, and that’s actually preventing the Bulls front office executives from aggressively shopping him.

The Boston Celtics are still viewed as a potential suitor for his service, especially if they can’t bring Gordon Hayward on board this offseason. Then again, the Bulls will try to at least reach the playoffs next season, and they obviously need Butler’s all-around play to pull it off.

With Rajon Rondo a virtual lock to return next season and Dwyane Wade poised to opt in ($24 million for next season), the Bulls won’t have much wiggle room to acquire a game-changing player this offseason. Their best hope of surrounding Butler with great pieces is to wait until next summer, when they are projected to have over $50 million in cap space.