The NBA trade rumors over former Chicago Bulls player Jimmy Butler involved the Boston Celtics for quite a while, but a deal never happened due to one player. As fans have recently seen, the Boston Celtics have been reworking their roster, with the big trade to send away several players and draft picks in order to bring in All-Star Kyrie Irving. They also signed NBA free agent Gordon Hayward, formerly with the Utah Jazz to their team. The team considered Jimmy Butler in a trade way back when but ultimately passed on the idea due to Gordon Hayward.
According to Bleacher Report, a report came about from ESPN’s Zach Lowe indicating the Boston Celtics didn’t take part in a deal for Jimmy Butler due to concerns of how he’d mesh with their overall roster. The biggest drawback in the minds of the Celtics front office was the fact they were intent on signing Gordon Hayward as a free agent. Both Hayward and Butler are All-Star players, but the team felt they both have similar qualities they would bring as two-way stars, so there was no need to get both. Due to that, the Celtics passed on a trade for Jimmy Butler and kept their eyes on the prize of Gordon Hayward.
The Celtics’ loss by not making that move ended up being the Minnesota Timberwolves’ gain. The team now features two young stars in Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns, as well as Butler and guard Jeff Teague. Due to that, Vegas odds makers already have pegged the Timberwolves among the top eight teams in the Western Conference next season based on the NBA team over/under win totals that were recently released.
The Boston Celtics are expected to be at the top of the Eastern Conference, though, but that will remain to be seen. The team has been given a season over/under win total of 56.5 for the 2017-18 NBA season. After completing their deal for Kyrie Irving recently, they now seem to have their roster set up going forward. Through that deal, they have lost Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, and next year’s top pick held by the Brooklyn Nets. The team was able to keep young players Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum by sending the Cleveland Cavaliers a future second-round pick.
Boston also lost their other starting guard, Avery Bradley, to help them make room to sign Hayward. The Celtics’ starting lineup may include Kyrie Irving, Jaylen Brown, Gordon Hayward, Jayson Tatum, and Al Horford, or could look completely different. Either way, it looks completely different from the starting lineup that made last year’s Eastern Conference Finals. The team will have a brand new floor general and new scoring options on the court.
One has to wonder how all of the various players will mesh on the new Celtics’ roster. There could be some early struggles and adjustments as new personalities try to mesh. There’s also a new system for both Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward underneath Celtics head coach Brad Stevens. It may be easier for Hayward to pick up, as Stevens is his former college coach, but will Irving flourish or fail underneath his new coach?
With all of that said, it’s hard to ignore that there were plenty of NBA teams making major moves this offseason to increase their chances of success. The Boston Celtics and Minnesota Timberwolves are two of those teams that made big moves. Will the Celtics’ passing on Butler in favor of free agent Gordon Hayward end up being the better move?
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