The Boston Celtics will be heading into the 2018-19 NBA season with the goal of contending for the NBA championship title. After LeBron James decided to join the Los Angeles Lakers, most people believe that the Celtics are currently the best team in the Eastern Conference, especially now that Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward are both 100 percent healthy. However, one of the Celtics’ superstars, Irving, is set to become an unrestricted free agent next summer, and his decision not to sign a contract extension heated up the speculations about his potential departure from Boston.
In the past months, rumors have continued to swirl around the league that Kyrie Irving wanted to team up with his Team USA teammate Jimmy Butler. Like Irving, Butler could also become an unrestricted free agent by exercising his early termination option. There are speculations that the All-Star forward is disappointed with his young teammates, specifically Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins, and also expressed his desire to leave the Minnesota Timberwolves to play alongside Irving.
According to Metro USA, the Celtics may consider trading for Jimmy Butler once the Timberwolves make him available on the trade market before the February NBA trade deadline. Successfully acquiring Butler during the 2018-19 NBA season will increase the Celtics’ chance of re-signing Kyrie Irving in the summer of 2019.
“The Celtics turned down a Butler trade from the Bulls last year around draft time, but if the price is right via trade or free agency – expect Danny Ainge to do his due diligence. If Irving is as hell-bent on playing with Butler as Butler seems to be hell-bent on playing with Irving, then Ainge would be stupid not to explore bringing Butler in. The Celtics first priority in the next 10 months, of course, is to re-up with Irving. If it means trading away a piece of their young foundation to please Irving, Ainge may pull the trigger.”
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) August 24, 2018
The Celtics have a plethora of trade assets to engage in a blockbuster trade with the Timberwolves. A package centered on Jaylen Brown or Jayson Tatum might be enough to convince the Timberwolves to send Jimmy Butler to Boston. If they will not get an assurance that Butler intends to stay long-term, it will be the best option for the Timberwolves to trade him now than losing him in the summer of 2019 as an unrestricted free agent without getting anything in return.
The acquisition of Jimmy Butler will not only eliminate the risk of losing Kyrie Irving, but it will also greatly help them in fully dominating the Eastern Conference next season. Having one of the best two-way players in the league will increase their chance of beating the reigning NBA champions, Golden State Warriors, in a best-of-seven series. Aside from being a reliable option on the offensive end of the floor, Butler could also be tasked to guard the best player from the opposing team.