4. Jared Butler
Jarrett Culver and Sharife Cooper certainly deserve an honorable mention when discussing formerly cherished prospects still available in free agency, but it’s Jared Butler who headlines as the prize jewel of this select group.
After being named to the AP First Team All-America alongside current Chicago Bulls guard Ayo Dosunmu and eventual first overall pick Cade Cunningham, Butler appeared to be on the cusp of being selected in the first round of the 2021 NBA Draft. Unfortunately, he’d join Ayo in taking a draft day slide, before eventually being taken off the board in the early second round at No. 40 overall.
Jared Butler would be an interesting developmental project for the Chicago Bulls.
He’d eventually bounce around during a series of draft days trades before eventually landing with the Utah Jazz. There, Butler was able to show flashes of promise even as a rookie. In the one game he started for Utah, he contributed 17 points, 4 assists, and 3 rebounds while also drilling a trio of triples from long range.
For that reason, it’s extremely surprising to see the Jazz let a promising player under cheap team control go so easily. However, that can easily be explained by the fact that Utah had no roster space left after the trades that sent Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell packing. Even if the Jazz were able to keep Butler around, there are simply other guys on that rebuilding roster that management would prefer to prioritize.
It’s easy to see why the decision to waive Butler was met with a consensus negative reaction from Utah’s fanbase online. He’s still in need of a lot of development before he becomes a true rotation-worthy asset, but he’s the type of low-risk investment the Bulls need to be making at this critical juncture in the team’s long-term outlook.