Boston Celtics trade rumors again include Jimmy Butler of the Chicago Bulls. It appears that the Celtics and Bulls could start up negotiations again, with the intent to complete a deal before the upcoming NBA trade deadline. A report by the Chicago Tribune late Monday evening (Jan. 30) seems to indicate that a blockbuster trade could be waiting in the wings. NBA analyst K.C. Johnson was very specific in his evaluation of the topic, even listing what the other components of a deal could end up being.
“There are rival executives who believe the Bulls and Celtics will rekindle trade talks centered on Jimmy Butler before the Feb. 23 deadline. The teams held serious talks in June, and the Celtics own the same assets — Jae Crowder, Marcus Smart, the (Brooklyn) Nets’ first-round picks in 2017 and 2018 — the teams discussed then.”
That would be an amazing haul for the Chicago Bulls, as both picks from the Brooklyn Nets could be near the top of the NBA Draft. It would also land the Celtics a star player heading into the second half of the NBA season, possibly making the roster good enough to compete with the best teams in the Eastern Conference. Would Celtics team president Danny Ainge finally give up some of those future assets for a chance to win in the short-term? Are the Bulls actually ready to give up the best player the franchise has had since Michael Jordan roamed the halls?
These Boston Celtics trade rumors are very familiar, as there were strong indications of something similar taking place during the last NBA offseason. Instead, the Chicago Bulls decided to dip into free agency, signing shooting guard Dwyane Wade and point guard Rajon Rondo to make a run at the postseason. Early season struggles have placed a large dent in any aspirations for the 2017 NBA Playoffs, giving rise to a new host of NBA trade rumors that have included Jimmy Butler, Taj Gibson, Rondo, and even Wade.
Butler has played 47 games for the Bulls this season, averaging 24.5 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 4.7 assists per game. The All-Star shoots 45.3 percent from the field, 35.0 percent from three-point range, and 87.0 percent from the free throw line. Butler also averages 1.8 steals per game, showing the added value he brings on the defensive end of the court. Not only could he provide a new team with an instant boost on offense, but he is a defender that the Celtics could use against the best shooting guards and small forwards in the league.
Butler makes roughly $17.6 million this year, with escalating salaries through the 2018-19 NBA season. He also has a player option worth about $19.9 million for the 2019-20 NBA season but is expected to opt out of the deal at that pay range. Butler would be a free agent before turning 30, making him a hot commodity on the open market. Before getting to that stage, Butler could sign a contract extension with a new franchise. In short, he comes with a lot of team control that makes him extremely valuable as the NBA trade deadline approaches.
In the updated NBA standings, the Chicago Bulls have moved up to the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference, putting the team on a path to easily make the 2017 NBA Playoffs. If the postseason were to begin today (Jan. 31), the Bulls would actually play the Celtics in a first-round matchup. This is where an important decision faces the front office of Chicago, as they have to decide if the team is good enough to even compete in the postseason. Another way of looking at these Boston Celtics trade rumors is that Danny Ainge could potentially weaken a playoff opponent by acquiring Butler.
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