All of the NBA trade rumors that were supposed to come true, did not. Now the Boston Celtics, among other teams, are holding on to players who were part of rumored deals. NBA free agency begins on Friday and the Celtics are one of the teams looking to make a big splash.
It is the Celtics’ intentions to acquire a player via trade and in free agency, in that order.
CSN New England are reporting that the Celtics are one of six teams on Kevin Durant’s shortlist of preferred destinations. The Celtics will meet with Kevin Durant sometime during the holiday weekend. They are hoping to have another frontline player on the roster to entice Durant to choose Boston.
Chances are moderately high that the Celtics will get something done between now and July 1. Again, by the time teams can finally contact players directly, the Celtics want someone already in place.
If the Boston Celtics make a deal. Who will become their trade partner?
The Celtics are eyeing the 76ers’ Nerlens Noel, and Jimmy Butler of the Bulls. That is who the majority of the NBA trade rumors involving the Celtics have been about. Milwaukee’s Khris Middleton and Utah’s Gordon Hayward also were mentioned, but the Celtics prefer the premier shot-blocking ability of Nerlens Noel, or the rising star of Jimmy Butler.
Several reports had the Celtics close to making trades for one, if not both players. Everything will hinge on how much of their assets Boston is will to give up in a trade. It seems as if the Celtics outsmarted themselves on the night of the NBA draft.
When the Jimmy Butler discussions were ongoing, the Celtics wanted the Bulls to take a package of the No. 3 pick, the No. 16 pick, and Jae Crowder. The Bulls were eyeballing guard Kris Dunn. Instead of drafting Dunn and attempting to trade him to the Bulls, the Celtics took Jaylen Brown. Which probably ruined any chance of a draft night trade between the teams.
No one doubts that Jaylen Brown could turn out to be a good player, but the Celtics had a chance to grab a player whom the Bulls coveted.
Drafting Dunn would have given Boston the advantage in trade negotiations with the Bulls for Jimmy Butler. And if a trade could not take place, well the Celtics needed a true point guard. Kris Dunn would have helped. Instead, it looks like the Celtics overreacted, reaching for a player who plays at a position where they are strongest at. It may have cost the Celtics a shot at Butler, or at the very least another asset that they did not want to give up.
The trade where the Celtics would acquire Jimmy Butler from the Bulls is not dead yet. Because of how Thursday night’s draft unfolded, there is a trade that can be made between the Celtics and Bulls.
Jaylen Brown became the third overall pick and power forward Guerschon Yabusele was picked at No. 16. That is not who the Bulls, nor the 76ers, one of the other teams whom the Celtics were negotiating with wanted. That said, the two picks, Jae Crowder, and next year’s first round pick is enough for the Celtics and Bulls to agree upon for Jimmy Butler.
There was/is a fair deal to be had with the Celtics. No. 3/player(s)/a Nets pick is win win. Bulls rebuild and get CHANCES at a star
— Jason Patt (@Bulls_Jay) June 26, 2016
— RealGM (@RealGM) June 25, 2016
The Celtics could then turn to the Philadelphia 76ers and offer guard Avery Bradley, a future first rounder and second-round pick Demetrius Jackson for Nerlens Noel. It is arguable whether or not the 76ers would agree to that deal, but it is a good starting point for both teams.
The best case scenario involves a three-team trade with plenty of parts going in several directions. In a workable trade, the Celtics can send Jaylen Brown to the Bulls, and Bradley, Jackson and two future first-round draft picks to the 76ers. The Bulls would send Jimmy Butler to the Celtics, along with Doug McDermott and a draft pick to the 76ers. Philadelphia would then ship Nerlens Noel to Boston and Jahlil Okafor to the Bulls.
This trade scenario works for every team involved.
It helps the 76ers who would get a guard in Bradley, who could play well off of top overall pick Ben Simmons. If Simmons is going to be a point forward, it would help if he had a guard that works well with and without the basketball. Also, Avery Bradley is a strong defender, with an undervalued offensive game. Getting Jackson gives the 76ers a natural point guard that is big and tough. Doug McDermott would be the shooter that Philadelphia needs to space the floor.
Celtics get ready-made star to help take the next step. Butler could also be used to help pitch Durant. If you whiff, you still have a star!
— Jason Patt (@Bulls_Jay) June 26, 2016
As for the Bulls, they would lose an All-Star, but gain a center with a strong low-post game. On top of it, Jaylen Brown could turn into a Jimmy Butler-type of player.
This scenario gives the Celtics the top two players on their wish list, not named Kevin Durant. Even without Durant, the Celtics would be able to challenge the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference if they had both Jimmy Butler and Nerlens Noel.
Making this deal is not out of the realm of possibility; the Boston Celtics just have to settle down and not try and outsmart the teams they are dealing with. The Chicago Bulls and Philadelphia 76ers are waiting to see what the Celtics’ countermeasures are now that the NBA draft has come and gone.
With the courtship of NBA free agents, including Kevin Durant, close to taking place, the Boston Celtics want to come to the table armed with an additional All-Star-level player. That will force the Celtics to make a wise trade, while taking advantage of the other teams.
[Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images]