With the 2017 All Star Weekend in the books, attention is now turning to the NBA Trade Deadline. It’s the season where rumors are the hottest, and both players and GM’s from across teams are eyeing each other suspiciously. Who’s going to pull the trigger? Who’s going to stand pat? No one knows for sure yet, but right now, the biggest potential story is in a Jimmy Butler trade to the Boston Celtics.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical, the Celtics and the Bulls have the things that the other want. Boston is looking to bolster its status as a contender, looking for that one All-Star who could potentially put them over the top.
They’re currently 2nd in the East standings with a respectable 37-20 record, 3 games behind the defending champions, the Cleveland Cavaliers. They’re currently holding on to some valuable assets, including Brooklyn’s picks in 2017 and 2018 – potential Top 3 picks, and a good shot at supposed future superstars Markelle Fultz and Lonzo Ball.
Chicago, meanwhile, is looking to hit the reset button and start a rebuilding process that, technically, began when Derrick Rose left town. Jimmy Butler, an All Star Starter for the East and a very good two-way player, doesn’t necessarily fit into that long-term plan.
So the question – do the Chicago Bulls sell Butler to the Boston Celtics, for those highly coveted draft picks?
What Package To Send
“It would put Boston in position to seriously challenge Cleveland in the East,” Wojnarowski says, “not only in the short term, but over the longer term – Jimmy Butler is signed and under contract for a couple more years.”
But what would the Celtics need to give up in order to make it happen? One of either the 2017 or 2018 Brooklyn picks will certainly have to be shipped. But for a player of Butler’s caliber, one draft pick won’t nearly be enough.
Fan response on SB Nation’s Celticsblog has generally been mixed, with some rooting for such a trade, and the rest generally saying no to Butler in green. Still, most agree that, should a trade happen, Avery Bradley will probably be involved as well. Packaging him with the 2017 pick, and perhaps one of Marcus Smart, Jae Crowder, and the 2018 Brooklyn pick, would supposedly be fair enough to for GM Danny Ainge to hit the GO button.
It’s a heavy deal – the kind of expensive one that Ainge has typically become known to shy away from. After all, Butler was already on the table during the off season, and Boston said no, then.
But for a high-quality scorer averaging 24.5 points, 6.3 rebounds and 5.0 assists per game? It could be worth it.
For the Boston Celtics to really go over the top, however, the team’s rebounding woes still need to be addressed. Jimmy Butler alone can’t solve that; the team needs a legitimate big on the floor. They currently rank 28th in the league in that department, with 41.8 a game.
With DeMarcus Cousins looking like he’s off the table, headed to New Orleans, the Celtics are currently hoping to get the most out of draft pick Ante Zizic, who is currently proving himself overseas.
Who else should the Celtics trade for? The deadline is this Thursday, Feb. 23.