Jimmy Butler trade to Boston Celtics 'an unlikely scenario': Report

By @saihoops on
Jimmy Butler trade to Celtics, Jae Crowder
Dec 9, 2015; Boston, MA, USA; Chicago Bulls forward Jimmy Butler (21) works the ball against Boston Celtics forward Jae Crowder (99)in the second quarter at TD Garden. USA TODAY Sports / David Butler II

The Chicago Bulls are still unwilling to pull the trigger on the long-overdue Jimmy Butler trade to Boston Celtics, according to the latest report. When the Celtics swapped Top-3 picks with the Philadelphia 76ers, there was rampant speculation that the trade was done to facilitate more assets for a potential Butler trade.

A report from Chicago Tribune noted that "as of Sunday, the talk (Jimmy Butler trade buzz) is based more on speculation than reality."

According to ESPN's Stephen A Smith, the Bulls were willing to trade Butler to the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for the No. 3 overall pick among other assets. It's no secret that the Celtics covet Butler more than any other team in the league, giving general manger Danny Ainge reason to trade down in the Draft. Also, the Celtics reportedly passed up on the idea of drafting consensus No. 1 pick Markelle Fultz for Kansas wing Josh Jackson, who is projected to go No. 3 in Thursday’s Draft.

Jimmy Butler to Celtics: Will it finally happen this summer?

Butler has a Player Option worth US$19.8 million (AU$25.9 million) for the 2019-20 season. Since the star wing has a minimum of two full seasons left, the Bulls could expect a rich haul in return for Butler. Butler is expected to opt out of the final year of his contract to capitalise on the NBA's rising salary cap.

The Jimmy Butler to Celtics trade chatter first gained traction during last year's NBA Draft night and once again gathered steam during February's NBA Trade Deadline. However, the Celtics and Bulls were unable to come to terms on a suitable deal. In March, a front-office execute told The Ringer that Butler was “as good as gone” from Chicago and would push the Bulls front office to trade him this summer.

Jimmy Butler, voted into the starting unit of the 2017 NBA All-Star game, averaged a career-high tally of 23.9 points, 5.5 assists and 6.2 rebounds in his sixth NBA season. During the six-game playoff series against the Celtics, Butler averaged 22.7 points, 7.3 rebounds and 4.3 assists. If Butler were to remain in Chicago, the Celtics are expected to draft either Kansas wing Josh Jackson or Duke forward Jayson Tatum with the No. 3 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft.