NBA Rumors: Celtics Have What Bulls Want In A Jimmy Butler Trade?

by NESN Staff

January 31, 2017

The Boston Celtics have the largest collection of quality assets in the NBA leading up to next month’s trade deadline.

Boston is loaded with draft picks, highlighted by two likely top five selections from the Brooklyn Nets this season and next season. The C’s also have expiring contracts (including Amir Johnson and Jonas Jerebko), players on team-friendly contracts (Jae Crowder, Avery Bradley, etc.) and talented young players (Marcus Smart, Terry Rozier, etc.).

Therefore, it’s no surprise they’ve been linked to most star players rumored to be available via trade over the last few years.

Chicago Bulls superstar forward Jimmy Butler has been linked to the Celtics several times, most notably at the 2016 NBA Draft. ESPN’s Nick Friedell discussed Butler’s situation on the latest edition of The Lowe Post podcast with colleague Zach Lowe, and he mentioned that the Celtics still can give the Bulls an enticing offer.

“This goes back a year now to last year’s trade deadline. I think if the Bulls had gotten the right pieces back in a deal, they would’ve moved Jimmy,” Friedell said.

“I think they were thinking about it at the draft, before the draft, during the draft last June. There is a split in the Bulls’ front office as to whether they want to build around Jimmy or not. … The team that I continue to hear has the pieces that the Bulls want is Boston. … I’ve never been more convinced that if they got the right pieces, let’s say it’s not Boston but it’s another team, if they got the right pieces back, I think they’d move Jimmy today. I think they realize that this team just isn’t good enough.”

Butler, 27, is a top 15 player in the league, maybe even top 10. The Bulls star forward also is signed for three more years with a salary under $20 million each season (the last season is a player option). That’s a team-friendly deal given where max contracts are now and will go in the short term under the new collective bargaining agreement.

Butler is averaging 24.5 points, 4.7 assists and 6.6 rebounds per game this season. He’s an excellent player, but should the Celtics give up this season’s pick swap with the Nets to acquire Butler?

It’s a tough call, especially with top 2017 draft prospects Lonzo Ball of UCLA and Markelle Fultz of Washington looking like franchise cornerstone-type players.

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Thumbnail photo via Mike DiNovo/USA TODAY Sports Images

Thumbnail photo via Jan 29, 2017; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bulls forward Jimmy Butler (21) reacts while sitting on the bench against the Philadelphia 76ers during the first half at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports
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