When the Boston Celtics traded the No. 1 overall pick to the Sixers for the No. 3 pick and a future first rounder still to be determined, the immediate reaction from those around the NBA was to expect more moves to come from Danny Ainge. The Celtics have a win now roster that just finished the regular season as the East’s top seed, but the Eastern Conference Finals proved they still need more firepower to compete with the Cavs.
So, the logical thought was that the Celtics were adding more assets for a potential run at either Jimmy Butler or Paul George, the same two they were linked to at the NBA trade deadline. All has been quiet on that front so far, although the trade of No. 1 went official only recently, but there might be competition for a Butler trade.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical, Butler’s former coach Tom Thibodeau and the Minnesota Timberwolves are interested and have the assets to make the Bulls think about moving their superstar west.
The Timberwolves are an extremely interesting potential trade partner for the Bulls, as they have a number of intriguing young assets and future picks that could pry Butler away from Chicago and help the Bulls begin rebuilding. The most notable young asset that could be on the block for Minnesota would be last year’s No. 5 overall pick Kris Dunn, who, as Sean Highkin of The Athletic notes, was a player the Bulls coveted in the draft.
The Bulls remain in an awkward position entering next year, but with decisions left to be made about Rajon Rondo’s future and Dwyane Wade’s decision on picking up his player option uncertain, trading Butler would signal that big changes are coming over the next year to the direction of the franchise.
For the Timberwolves, they are a team on the precipice of playoff contention with a bonafide star in Karl-Anthony Towns, but are in desperate need of some scoring punch from their backcourt and adding Butler would certainly provide that — and Butler knows Thibs well. If the Celtics — or Cavs, who are now reportedly in the mix as well — aren’t willing to bring a significant haul to the table, the T-Wolves are in a great position to swipe him.