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NBA trade rumor: Could the Celtics trade for Jimmy Butler in the offseason?

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Dare to dream.

Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

This summer is going to be nuts.  The Celtics will have a bag full of trade chips, lots of cap space, and big plans for pursuing big name players.  One of those could be the Bulls' Jimmy Butler.

Fred Hoiberg era hasn't gone as planned for Bulls - Yahoo Sports

I've been hearing rumbling that there is legitimate interest in Chicago in potentially dealing Jimmy Butler this offseason.

Indeed, no one is untouchable. The palace intrigue that surrounded Butler and Hoiberg prompted several teams to inquire about Butler’s availability at the trade deadline. Though they were rebuffed, several rival executives told The Vertical they intend to try again. Boston was among the teams trying to pry away Butler in February, and several executives point to Orlando, with its treasure trove of young players and defensive-minded head coach, as a team to watch closely in the pursuit of Butler.

Chicago beat writer K.C. Johnson did was he could to pour cold water on that rumor, siting the lowball nature of Danny's offer at the trade deadline.

I'll save you the click, here's the relevant rumor from back in February.

Taj Gibson joins Bulls' walking wounded, misses first game of season - Chicago Tribune

Speaking of Butler, the Boston Herald reported the Celtics engaged the Bulls in talks centered on the two-time All-Star near the Feb. 18 trade deadline. A source said the Celtics offered future picks and current reserves and discussion ended quickly.

And just so you have all the facts, here's the original Steve Bulpett rumor.

via the Herald

According to one source that had at least one player who could have been involved in the potential transaction, the Celtics were willing to give up two first-round draft picks this year — the unprotected pick from the Nets and Dallas' choice, which is protected 1-through-7.

Now that you have all that data, let's unpack a little here.

Is it surprising that the Celtics would offer a couple of (good) picks and (reserve) players for Jimmy Butler?  Call it low-ball if you like, but Danny was working the phones to see who might be available and if he didn't think the Bulls were serious, he wasn't going to start upping his offer.  Keep in mind that the Bulls management is notorious for not making deals during the season.

Secondly, I could imagine someone like Marcus Smart being involved in a deal like this, and while technically he's still a "reserve," I think you could say he's capable of starting for many teams and has even higher upside (yes, the shooting is concerning).

Furthermore, two lottery picks (one potentially top 3) and young players (who don't often start), is a good starting point for an offer.  In particular if a team like the Bulls is legitimately thinking about blowing things up.  Again, not something they'd consider too seriously during the season, but something they could ponder in the offseason.

In a few months we'll also know exactly where those picks are landing in the lottery and everyone will have more information to work with in terms of asset value.

With all of this said, the Bulls hitting the nuke button and shopping Jimmy Butler does seem like a long shot.  Most would assume that the team would rather move anything and everything else other than Butler.  But stranger things have happened and teams like the Celtics, Magic, and Suns would be more than willing to get into the bidding war that would ensue.

Just another name and situation to keep an eye on when the summer hits.