The Boston Celtics (37-20) and Chicago Bulls (28-29) could reportedly re-engage on a potential Jimmy Butler trade ahead of the Feb. 23 NBA Trade Deadline. However, the Celtics have no intention to part with Brooklyn Nets' 2017 first-round draft pick which currently has the best odds to be No. 1 overall.
Since last year's NBA Trade Deadline, the Celtics and Bulls have had numerous conversations surrounding Butler. In fact, the Celtics were very close to acquiring the All-Star on NBA Draft night last June until the Bulls upped its asking price for Butler, reportedly demanding Jae Crowder, Avery Bradley and the No. 3 overall pick (with which Boston drafted Jaylen Brown) among other assets.
It seems like the Bulls and Celtics could re-open talks but the latter isn't willing to overpay. According to The Chicago Tribune, the Bulls, if anything, will up its price for Butler. "The only one that matters to the Bulls is the Celtics, whom many league executives believe at least will re-kindle talks from last June regarding Jimmy Butler to see his cost. Obviously, with Butler's ascension to a likely All-NBA selection as one of the game's top-15 players, that price will be extremely high, higher than last June.
Jimmy Butler Trade: Boston won't trade Brooklyn pick
"As of now, league sources insist the Celtics won't part with this June's first-round pick they own from the Nets, which could be the No. 1 overall selection in a strong draft. The Celtics also own the Nets' 2018 first-round pick. Whether the Celtics' stance changes between now and the Feb. 23 trade deadline is unknown. So is whether the Bulls would even pull the trigger on a Butler trade even if the Celtics changed their stance on those picks," Bulls insider K.C. Johnson noted in his report earlier this week.
The Bulls are clinging to the No. 7 seed in the East but could very likely hit the reset button at the end of the season. With Dwyane Wade and Rajon Rondo expected to leave in free agency, the Bulls could pull off the impending Jimmy Butler trade and build the team around young players and draft picks. The Celtics, on the other hand, could pose a legitimate threat to the Cleveland Cavaliers by potentially acquiring Butler. Stay tuned for the latest chatter surrounding the NBA Trade Deadline.