The Boston Celtics have the most quality assets of any NBA team to use in trade talks before Thursday’s 3 p.m. ET deadline.
This makes them a great trade partner for the Chicago Bulls, should they want to deal superstar forward Jimmy Butler and begin a real rebuild.
ESPN’s Marc Stein said Tuesday on the “Lowe Post” podcast with Zach Lowe that he believes the Celtics are the only team Chicago would send Butler to, if he’s even traded at all.
“I don’t think Butler is getting traded,” Stein said. “Now, the Bulls have told numerous teams they won’t move him. My best summation of it is this: Boston is the only team they would trade him to. And I think it would take at least one Brooklyn pick and Avery Bradley and (Jae) Crowder. Something like that.
“Boston would really have to put three prized chips on the table to get the Bulls to do it.”
Three assets is a lot to give up for Boston, but at least with Crowder, acquiring Butler kind of negates that loss because they both play small forward and the Bulls star is almost as good defensively and a lot better offensively.
Bradley would be a tough loss, but Marcus Smart would be able to fill that void and play good defense on the league’s best perimeter scorers. Terry Rozier probably would have an increased role if Bradley was traded.
The main issue is the Brooklyn Nets picks that Boston owns. The Celtics can swap first-round picks with the Nets this year, and it probably will be a top-three selection in an excellent draft. However, Boston is able to put protections on that pick, and it also owns Brooklyn’s 2018 first-round selection.
Expect this saga to go down to the wire Thursday afternoon.
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