The NBA trade rumors ahead of this Thursday’s big deadline are still focused on three All-Star players. Indiana’s Paul George, New York’s Carmelo Anthony, and Chicago’s Jimmy Butler were three-star players beyond DeMarcus Cousins with a lot of interest from prospective teams. As of this report, things appear quiet with regards to all three players. In particular, Carmelo requires waiving a “no trade clause” in order for him to be dealt, while the Pacers have said they are rejecting calls about their star forward. That leaves the Bulls’ Jimmy Butler, a player who many believe could really turn Boston into more of a contender.
On Tuesday, ESPN senior writer Zach Lowe talked about the latest buzz ahead of the NBA trade deadline. That includes the specifics of a deal between Chicago and Boston actually materializing. Lowe mentions that there’s some risk involved in dealing away the Celtics’ top pick and a young emerging talent like Jaylen Brown to the Bulls, as Butler could end up not panning out the way Boston wants.
In his discussion, Lowe basically douses water on the flames of the hot trade that Celtics fans might be hoping for in the next few days.
“Regardless: a deal for Butler now seems unlikely, unless the Bulls are posturing. There is some debate over whether Boston did or did not ever include the 2017 Nets pick in an official offer, but they’d have to for Chicago to really engage. Perhaps clarity will come at the lottery, after Chicago sees how far Butler can take their current team and everyone knows where Boston will pick.”
Boston is going to get the Brooklyn Nets’ first-round pick in this year’s NBA Draft. Based on how poorly the Nets have played this season, and their league-worst record, the Celtics are probably looking at one of the top four prospects. If Chicago is going to deal away their top star to rebuild, then they would want to get a high draft pick as part of the trade.
On a recent episode of The Herd with Colin Cowherd, the Fox Sports show host said the Celtics need to do whatever is necessary to make this deal happen. That could include giving up their top draft pick, a younger player like Marcus Smart, and other assets. Cowherd contends that the Celtics are trying to compete with a Cavs team that has two “grade A” players in LeBron James and Kyrie Irving, but that Boston only has one “grade A” player in Isaiah Thomas. Adding Butler would give them another top All-Star, in addition to Thomas, and their “grade B” players, Al Horford and Avery Bradley.
Cowherd also contends that it makes very little sense for Boston to hold onto their No. 1 pick if they want to try to compete with the Cavaliers over the next several seasons. Instead of future stars, they need stars with the skills and experience to help them win now. Jimmy Butler is a franchise player, while lottery picks usually take some time to get there. Risking their future on a 19-year-old draft pick from college may not be the best plan for Boston, whereas Chicago might decide it’s time to go in that direction.
There’s really just a few days for a Jimmy Butler deal to get done, so it’s still possible the Bulls and Celtics make a trade in the final moments before the deadline hits. However, the smart move for Chicago seems to be to wait things out. The top overall pick gives them the most options in terms of rebuilding, but right now that isn’t guaranteed. It’s always possible the Celtics end up with that No. 4 draft pick which would have the Bulls thinking a bit differently about what to do with Butler.
Basketball fans, should the Celtics give up their 2017 No. 1 draft pick via the Nets, Marcus Smart, and some other assets in a deal to bring the Bulls’ Jimmy Butler on board? Would Butler give the Celtics the best chance of defeating the Cavaliers and/or Warriors this postseason?
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