NBA trade rumors swirled around the Boston Celtics for much of the past month, as Danny Ainge openly stated that he was looking for an impact player. Though the team ended up without any transactions, it was not for a lack of trying. According to CBS Sports, Ainge attempted to convince the Chicago Bulls to send him Jimmy Butler, a certified two-way star in the NBA, in exchange for two first round draft picks.
The Boston Celtics are currently sitting on a 36-25 record, which places them at a surprising third overall spot in the Eastern Conference. While a lot of general managers are looking up towards that lofty goal, it isn’t quite enough for Celtics president Danny Ainge. When he started this long rebuilding process, he did so with the intention of adding yet another NBA Championship to the 17 that the storied franchise already boasts.
Acquiring an All-Star player like Jimmy Butler can help Danny Ainge expedite that goal. The 6’7″, 220-pound guard has a plethora of ways to score against defenders, and he could probably average more than 22.4 points if he were inclined to do so. On the other side of the ball is where Butler really shines. Jimmy takes a lot of pride in shutting down the opponent’s best scorer, much like how Michael Jordan was when he was the starting shooting guard for the Chicago Bulls.
Normally, the Chicago Bulls would not even bother fielding phone calls for Jimmy Butler, whom they signed to a long-term contract extension last summer, but since Danny Ainge has an embarrassment of wealth when it comes to trade assets, it made sense to hear what the Boston Celtics had to offer. After all, the Bulls are a team that looks like they need to be reloaded because Derrick Rose and Pau Gasol aren’t going to be enough help for Butler to lead Chicago to an NBA Championship.
Had the Boston Celtics been able to acquire Jimmy Butler, then he would have been slotted into the starting shooting guard spot. It is currently occupied by Avery Bradley. If Danny Ainge doesn’t send Bradley to the Chicago Bulls, then the Celtics have one of the best defensive tandems at the position. Bradley can also shift over to the point guard spot, so that means he and Butler can still share the court at times.
Isaiah Thomas is the closest thing that the Boston Celtics have to a star. He made the All-Star team for the first time this season. The arrival of Jimmy Butler would have meant that there would be less of an offensive burden on Thomas, which might make him even harder to defend. The two-pronged attack from the perimeter would have opened up the lanes a bit for the Celtics forwards and centers to get easy baskets.
Jimmy Butler is versatile enough to move from shooting guard to small forward, but that wouldn’t really be needed because Jae Crowder provides good minutes there for the Boston Celtics. Both guys are hard-nosed defenders, which would make it tough for opposing NBA wing players to score against the Celtics. Boston might be one of the few teams that can field a defense that might be able to pester Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson.
For the Chicago Bulls, trading away Jimmy Butler is a sign that an era is over. It would have been known as an era of question marks because the team will never know what they could have done had Derrick Rose been healthy.
[Featured Photo by Elsa/Getty Images]