NBA Rumors: Would Celtics Have Landed Kevin Durant With Jimmy Butler Trade?

Every major move that happens — or doesn’t happen — during the NBA offseason can have a domino effect. Landing or losing out on certain players, particularly superstars, can completely transform an organization’s entire summer game plan.

The Boston Celtics are very familiar with this reality.

It’s no secret the Celtics have been looking to make noise this offseason, and Kevin Durant was the shiniest object of their affection before he left the Oklahoma City Thunder to sign with the Golden State Warriors in free agency. But several other big names have been connected to Boston, including Chicago Bulls swingman Jimmy Butler, whose acquisition might have impacted the Durant sweepstakes.

In a piece Thursday dissecting the Celtics’ trade rumor mill, the Boston Herald’s Steve Bulpett explains that one league source said he’d been told if the C’s had been able to trade for Butler after signing Al Horford, then Durant would have landed in Boston.

This revelation caused Bulpett to do extensive research, after which he concluded the tip to be “perhaps true, but ultimately not true.”

Still, the story is notable because it led Bulpett down an avenue on which he obtained other interesting information. For example, sources close to Durant told Bulpett that one of the things that interested the seven-time All-Star about the Celtics was the core they’ve created. Durant reportedly was very interested in playing with a cohesive and complementary unit.

The problem — this is where Bulpett determined the Butler-then-Durant rumor to false — is that acquiring Butler would have required the Celtics to part with certain pieces that Durant wanted to play with. Thus, it’s a stretch to think landing Butler would have immediately caused Durant to sign with Boston. There are just too many variables to make that assumption despite the tip the league source relayed to Bulpett.

So, who cares, right? The Celtics didn’t land Durant and it sounds like Butler is off the market with the Bulls looking to build an Eastern Conference contender.

Well, the whole situation just goes to show how difficult it is for an NBA front office to piece together the perfect puzzle in pursuit of a title.

Thumbnail photo via Dennis Wierzbicki/USA TODAY Sports Images

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