Obviously the Celtics would be crazy not to be interested in Jimmy Butler, and I’m sure they would be willing to get in the door with some serious offers. Of course on the other side of the fence is the Bulls, who would be crazy to give away Butler for anything less than a king’s ransom.
But those are vague statements that can be interpreted in many different ways. Adding depth to this conversation requires theoretical trade offers and counteroffers.
Chris Forsberg and Nick Friedell (both of ESPN) had a fun back and forth discussion about the Celtics’ interest in Jimmy Butler.
Here’s Nick’s initial offer from the Bulls perspective.
Here's where I think this gets interesting for the Bulls. Boston has some pieces that would interest them or any other team. What about Jae Crowder, Avery Bradley, this year's No. 3 pick, and next year's Brooklyn pick (Boston holds the right to swap spots with the Nets)? I can hear Boston fans cringing and screaming from here. But I think this is where the discussion would get serious for the Bulls.
Ouch. I’m all for paying a premium, but that’s way too much. It would strip us of all of our most valuable trade chips in one shot and would leave us no other assets to get better. As Forsberg points out, Butler is really good, but his production isn’t all that far north of Jae Crowder’s. So Chris responds with this offer.
If I'm Boston, I'd counter by pulling Crowder but adding more picks (Nos. 16 and 23 this year do anything for you?) and a young player (maybe someone like 2015 first-round pick James Young, who is still only 20 years old and simply hasn't been able to make an impact in Boston yet).
So the final offer from Chris Forsberg is Bradley, Young, picks 3, 16, and 23, plus next year’s Nets pick-swap.
That still seems like a lot, but it is still quite a haul when you consider how loaded the top of the draft could be next year.
If that's the best we can do, I think I’d look for better offers elsewhere. And that’s coming from a guy who really, really likes Jimmy Butler on this team.
The funny thing about these trade offer scenarios is that we can shoot holes in them and make fun of the people creating them all we like. But truth is often much stranger than fiction. Who saw the Pierce/KG deal coming before it happened? Who envisioned Deron Williams going to the Nets after they failed to land Dwight Howard? For all the rumors we hear about, there are dozens of other discussions that never reach public consumption.
So we’ll just have to wait and see what happens. Oh, who am I kidding? Bring on the next rumor or trade proposal so we can endlessly debate it!
Bonus Link: Basketball Insiders has 5 proposed trades for Butler, the last two involving the Celtics. (I like the last one the best)