The NBA trade rumors involving Jimmy Butler heading to the Boston Celtics in a deal may have a bit of a snag, according to the latest reports. Reportedly, Boston is unwilling to part ways with their top pick in the upcoming NBA Draft, which would be part of the assets the Chicago Bulls would want in order to make this deal happen. While Boston would certainly be upgrading their roster in an attempt to make a serious postseason run, Chicago would want to know they have some sort of component to make their team better for the future. However, will the Celtics be willing to part ways with their pick?
In a recent ESPN piece, it was discussed how the Celtics are the current No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference, which puts them right up there with the defending champions, the Cleveland Cavaliers. At just two games behind the champs right now, and with Cleveland dealing with Kevin Love’s injury, it gives Boston the ability to potentially overtake the Cavs as the top team. While that sounds good enough as it is, adding a third star to their lineup to create a new “Big Three” in Boston would sound even better to fans, especially with Golden State considered the team to beat in the NBA.
That’s where the Jimmy Butler trade rumors come in. The Bulls star is considered amongst the top 15 or 20 players in the league right now, has been a multiple-time All-Star and recent gold medal winner at the Summer Olympics. In the most recent offseason, the Bulls attempted to build a better team around Butler, by sending away former NBA MVP Derrick Rose and defensive star Joakim Noah to the New York Knicks. However, expectations are always high in the Windy City, and so far it seems this team isn’t getting it done as planned.
Boston may try to advance talks with Chicago to snatch away their top star in the coming week. Adding an All-Star scorer of Butler’s caliber to the Celtics’ lineup which already has current All-Star guard Isaiah Thomas and multiple-time All-Star Al Horford would be of major benefit to Boston’s chances of postseason success. The Bulls are currently amongst the top eight teams in the East but are struggling, despite adding new stars like Dwayne Wade and Rajon Rondo. So they may decide to once again dismantle this current team and start from scratch.
Sending Butler away would be an indication that Chicago is looking to rebuild, so they clearly would want some value in return. Butler brings with him a four-year salary of over $17 million, so the Celtics would have to put together an enticing package in exchange. They have multiple players they could offer the Bulls outside of their stars, as well as upcoming draft picks. It’s highly likely that Butler wouldn’t mind heading from his longtime squad to a team that looks ready to compete with the Cavs either.
In a recent ESPN video, it was indicated that Boston is about $1.1 million under the salary cap and have all sorts of assets they could offer to the Bulls with some NBA draft picks. The example deal had Boston sending their acquired first-round NBA picks from Brooklyn in 2017 as well as the Clippers and Nuggets in 2019 to Chicago. In addition, the example had journeyman Amir Johnson with his one-year deal of $12 million and James Young with his salary of just over $1 million also heading to the Bulls.
Today, a general manager told me he believes the Bulls would accept a "Godfather offer" for Jimmy Butler. But they want a lot (obviously).— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) February 14, 2017
The snag with including draft picks comes due to the fact that Chicago wants the Celtics’ top pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, but Boston isn’t willing to give that up. Boston has the rights to the Brooklyn Nets’ pick, which is going to be at one of the top four spots, due to Brooklyn’s poor record. That pick could give a team a tremendous young star such as UCLA’s Lonzo Ball or Washington’s Markelle Fultz. Both point guards have been heralded as full of potential, and teams have seen that getting the right guard can be a serious boost to a lineup. Boston doesn’t necessarily need another star guard, but just having that pick gives them plenty to work with for the future.
Besides this year’s top NBA pick, Boston still has the three other draft picks they can offer to Chicago to make the deal work. They’ll also get Brooklyn’s first-round pick in 2018, as well as the two 2019 first-round picks mentioned above via Denver and Los Angeles. With a handful of players to offer the Bulls including young potential stars like Jaylen Brown or Marcus Smart, Boston still might be able to put together an attractive enough package to make this work. Don’t be surprised if a new “Big Three” is suiting up in Bean Town in the near future to make a run at the NBA Playoffs.
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