The prevailing thought around the NBA after the Celtics shipped the No. 1 pick off to Philadelphia for the No. 3 pick and a future first rounder was that more moves were coming soon out of Boston. Danny Ainge has done a magnificent job of racking up valuable assets while still managing to build a team competitive enough to earn the top seed in the East and make it to the Eastern Conference Finals, but they need a bit more in order to truly threaten the Cavaliers.
In Chicago, Jimmy Butler appears on his way out the door as well, as there have been numerous reports that the Bulls are taking calls about their star swingman. Boston and Butler have been connected since prior to the trade deadline last season, and with the shuffle of splitting the top pick into the No. 3 pick and a future pick, it seemed as though the Celtics had loaded up some new ammunition that they would feel more comfortable with using to land Butler.
However, according to Vincent Goodwill of CSN Chicago, the Celtics aren’t willing to part ways with their No. 3 pick to get Butler, even though most would consider that a value move for Boston. Goodwill reports that the Bulls offered Butler for No. 3, straight up, and got turned down.
The Bulls were rebuffed on an offer to the Celtics for the third pick straight-up, but bringing the Cavaliers to the table could increase the quality of offers for Butler, who would be eligible for a deal in the $40 million range annually if he makes another All-NBA team next season.
If true, that’s a fairly stunning decision by Boston. They have the cap space to absorb Butler, and it would solve the issue of Boston not wanting to deal Jae Crowder, Avery Bradley, or any of their other valuable role players that reportedly hung up a deadline deal for Butler. However, with Gordon Hayward and Blake Griffin on the Celtics’ wish list in free agency, trading for Butler and having to use all cap space to bring him in would hinder any plans of adding multiple stars, which they may need in order to really compete with Cleveland.
We’ll see what happens regarding a Butler trade, but Goodwill’s sources indicate that he’ll be gone from Chicago this offseason.
As one league executive texted last night, “It’s either Boston or Cleveland but he’s going.”
The Cavaliers have reportedly been trying to rope in the Suns or possibly the Lakers in a three-team deal that may involve Kevin Love going to the third team and a high draft pick going to the Bulls in order to get Butler — who reportedly prefers Cleveland. We’ll have to see if the Cavaliers’ involvement in Butler talks causes the Celtics to revisit trade offers in order to ensure they close the gap on Cleveland rather than see it widen.