Both Paul George and Jimmy Butler have been tied to trade rumors with the Boston Celtics for quite some time, but don’t expect those rumors to come to fruition this summer.
According to The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Celtics’ ownership of the No. 1 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft would make a trade for either superstar unlikely.
“I think with Boston and Los Angeles getting No. 1 and No. 2, I think it makes it highly unlikely that Butler and George are involved in trades with those two teams,” Wojnarowski said, as transcribed by WEEI. “Danny Ainge at No. 1 now, with Jimmy Butler, they dealt with this at the trade deadline last spring.”
Wojnarowski also noted that the Celtics reportedly are focusing their offseason efforts on Gordon Hayward, who can opt out of his contract with the Utah Jazz and become an unrestricted free agent this summer. Utah’s hopes of retaining Hayward became more difficult Thursday, as Hayward’s absence from the All-NBA teams means the forward can’t sign a super-max contract with the Jazz.
With Hayward possibly on the open market, Boston would be able to bring in a top-tier talent without having to give up any assets. A player like Butler or George certainly would bolster the Celtics’ roster, but as Wojnarowski notes, it would come at a big cost.
“Why trade assets to get Butler when you think you might have a chance at Hayward in the summer where they have the cap space to sign him in and you don’t have to trade anything?” Wojnarowski said. “Boston could possibly know closer to the draft where they stand with Hayward, but I think Danny Ainge has not gone ‘all in’ with this group yet. And having the No. 1 pick this year, and potentially the No. 1 overall pick again next year with Brooklyn’s pick again, he doesn’t have to take that kind of a risk.
“I think Boston preserves its cap space and goes really hard after Hayward on July 1.”
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