Several executives who spoke to HoopsHype predicted that the Boston Celtics and Chicago Bulls will reopen Jimmy Butler trade talks as the deadline gets closer.
With that said, one executive pointed out that the Bulls can be tough to negotiate with, add that if Chicago does decide make a trade, they would likely wait until just before the deadline to complete the deal. Another league source speculated that moving a face-of-the-franchise like Butler seems more like an offseason move than a mid-season one, but did add that a trade could happen if the right offer came along.
Late last week, a league source suggested Butler did not appear to be on the trade market --yet. But you can be sure the Celtics are monitoring the situation closely. We're only seven months removed from serious draft-night discussions between the Celtics and Bulls, and Chicago's season is threatening to spin out of control.
There are rival executives who believe the Bulls and Celtics will rekindle trade talks centered on Jimmy Butler before the Feb. 23 deadline. The teams held serious talks in June, and the Celtics own the same assets — Jae Crowder, Marcus Smart, the Nets' first-round picks in 2017 and 2018 — the teams discussed then.
A league source with knowledge of the situation indicated to me that Chicago also demanded an additional starter-level player in the deal. It’s unclear what was and wasn’t discussed exactly, but what we do know is that the Bulls weren’t prepared to go full-rebuild (though that could change by the trade deadline). “We’re trying to find deals. And sometimes you have to make small deals in order to be able to have big deals,” Ainge said. “You have to put yourself in position with good young players and good contracts and future assets. It puts us in the game if there’s a player that becomes available in the trade market, but they have to like those young players and assets,” Ainge said.
To give up a key player, a team is essentially saying it’s taking a deeper rebuilding route. Chicago was looking at that option when it held serious talks with the Celts prior to the draft about Jimmy Butler. According to agents with interest in the matter, the asking price for the 26-year-old scorer was very high, and the C’s got protective at a certain point.
The initial key for the Bulls was the third overall pick from last month’s draft and the ability to select Providence guard Kris Dunn. The aforementioned sources added that the Celtics were willing to add one player from their rotation when Chicago wanted a second. “Another sticking point in that and in other deals Boston is talking about is that pick from the Nets next year,” said one of these sources. “Danny will make it available in the right situation, but he’s not going to give it up with core players, too. That’s going to be a good draft, and that’s going to be a high pick.
There is strong evidence the Celtics could have made a trade for Butler, but neither side felt what was being offered by the other was worth doing. If it had simply been a matter of getting Butler to get Durant, the C’s would have overpaid and done it. But that’s where the story changes. According to sources close to Durant, one of the things that interested the former league MVP about the Celts, as we’ve stated before, is the core that has been gathered. He was very interested in playing with a cohesive and complementary unit, which is what he is getting in Golden State.
Sources are telling us that the C’s are still holding the line on their offers from prior to the draft. They will make trades if teams come around to their price. Jimmy Butler and Jahlil Okafor are said to be still available, but getting them now won’t be as easy as on draft night when Chicago and Philadelphia, respectively, both coveted the No. 3 overall pick so they could take Providence’s Kris Dunn.
There are indications the Celtics may still be able to do business with the Bulls and 76ers, but both sides will have to get creative. As it stands, the word is the Celts are looking at a core that will grow to nine with Horford. Also in the group are Thomas, Avery Bradley, Jae Crowder, Marcus Smart, Kelly Olynyk, Terry Rozier, Jordan Mickey and Jaylen Brown.
Marc Stein on Jimmy Butler: I don't think the Bulls want to trade him. (...) Boston and Minnesota were definitely trying to get him, and I think that's the case and I think it will continue to be the case. (...) But Danny Ainge is involved, so is he ever going to stop trying to get him? Probably not.
Marc Stein: ESPN sources say Wolves haven't surrendered their Jimmy Butler quest, but longer this night goes suggests Bulls can't bear to part with him.
KC Johnson: The Bulls' talks to acquire Kris Dunn were more serious with the Celtics than the Timberwolves, per source.
Nick Friedell: Bulls have made it clear throughout league that they expect to get a serious haul in return for any potential deal for Jimmy Butler. Picks and young, controllable assets. They didn't feel a potential Boston deal was strong enough.
David Aldridge: FWIW, Kris Dunn’s camp believes Boston won’t do the deal with Philly, keep the pick and take Dunn #3. But Bulls still in the mix.
KC Johnson: Avery Bradley also has been discussed in one permutation of Bulls-Celtics talks, per source.
Marc Stein: And ESPN sources say that Boston has been holding out all day for a better offer; Chicago's Jimmy Butler has been HIGH on the Celts' list
Adrian Wojnarowski: Chicago, Boston still talking about a Jimmy Butler trade, league sources tell @The Vertical.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Sources: Boston is engaged with the Bulls and Sixers as Celtics inch closer to going on the clock at No. 3, league sources said.
The Boston Celtics have been pursuing a number of established veterans in the buildup to Thursday's NBA draft, offering trade packages built around the No. 3 overall pick, according to league sources. But sources told ESPN that the Celtics, to date, have been rebuffed in their efforts to assemble a sufficiently enticing deal to acquire any of these four prime targets: Chicago Bulls All-Star swingman Jimmy Butler, Utah Jazz guard Gordon Hayward and Milwaukee Bucks teammates Jabari Parker or Khris Middleton.
The Bulls, sources say, continue to show little interest in dealing Butler to the Celtics, who previously tried to trade for him before the league's annual deadline in February.
"Trust me, I get enough on my Instagram and Twitter about going to Boston," Butler said. "But the funniest part about it is everybody's like, 'Jimmy, don't leave Chicago.' I literally, I don't control that. It's not like I'm a free agent. I can't do anything about that. And so people get mad: 'Oh, we hate you. You want to leave.' I never once said that. There's absolutely nothing that I can do. Literally the only way is if I got traded."
Butler ended up going to the Chicago Bulls at the end of the first round, but told Simmons he was surprised Boston didn't select him. "What's crazy is I thought I was going to end up with y'all (the Celtics)," Jimmy Butler said on the podcast. "Doc (Rivers) being from Marquette, I (was) ready. But I'm not mad. I went 30th to Chicago and it's a good place for me right now."
The Boston Celtics, who hold the No. 3 overall pick, are also known to have trade interest in Butler, while sources say that the Bulls are highly intrigued by Providence guard Kris Dunn, who is projected to be selected in the 3-to-5 range in the June 23 draft.
Sources say that the Bulls naturally would demand a significant amount in return to part with Butler, which likely translates to at least one front-line player in addition to a top lottery pick this month.
Mannix's analysis Tuesday night on CSNNE was more sobering. Because they didn't jump into the top two, the Celtics could have a much tougher time targeting a star while keeping most of their core (and/or future draft picks) together. Mannix did say he believes Jimmy Butler could be available for the right price, but cautioned stars won't come cheap. "If Boston does want to get in the mix for one of the premier players that could be available on the trade market, there is going to be a very rich price," Mannix said. "It's going to be that No. 3 overall pick plus a couple of extra players that are going to make it unpalatable for the Celtics to want to swallow that type of deal."
Butler spoke publicly for the first time since Forman said "we have to explore all options" when asked directly if Butler is a franchise centerpiece. The comment irked Butler, although sources said the Bulls have no plans to trade the two-time All-Star. "I didn't do my job, so I guess everything is on the table," Butler said. "If I help us win games and get us in the playoffs and put us in a position to win a championship, he wouldn't say it. So I'm not mad at (Forman). He's doing his job."
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.
KC Johnson: Per that Boston Herald report that the Celtics targeted Jimmy Butler, told offer was of lowball variety and talks didn't advance. To be clear, @Steve Bulpett report made clear talks underscored Celtics' mindset to shoot for stars with picks/plyrs. Bulls just not interested
A number of names were linked to the Celtics during that time — Blake Griffin, Kevin Love and Jahlil Okafor being among the most prominent players identified in the Herald as targets of the club. And then there is the NBA executive who, characterizing the Celts’ hunt, was quoted here as saying, “It’s like they took the All-Star roster and used it as Match.com.” One of those stars whose profile intrigued the Celtics didn’t get to play in that game because of a strained knee. It’s been said that Chicago’s Jimmy Butler would be a good fit here, but multiple sources are telling the Herald that the Celts did, in fact, make a strong move for the 6-foot-7 wing.
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. There are differing reports on what players were offered, requested and denied and how far the talks got, but the bottom line is that there was no fit for the Celtics and Bulls at this time.
“The term I’ve heard with Danny is that he’s looking for a ‘difference maker,’” said one league source. “He’s definitely willing to pay you for the right guy, but he wants someone who can move them to the next level.”
September 20, 2021 | 8:16 am EDT Update
UNICS Kazan announced the signing of former Milwaukee Bucks and Dallas Mavericks guard O.J. Mayo. The 33-year-old veteran will make his european debut in VTB League and the EuroLeague this season, signing a one-year deal with the club. Mayo has 573 NBA games under his belt, with the Memphis Grizzlies, the Milwaukee Bucks and the Dallas Mavericks, averaging 13.9 points, 3.1 rebounds, 2.9 assists, and 1.0 steal per contest.
“Shabazz Napier underwent a comprehensive examination. He has a rather serious injury to the ligaments of the right ankle joint. On the positive side, I can say that there is no fracture and, therefore, there is no need for surgery, of the minuses, the recovery time is still unknown. We have all the necessary conditions to get him back on the floor quickly. All is needed is the support of the fans,” general manager Alexander Tserkovny said. Napier moved to Europe after six years in the NBA and showed promise in front of the season. In the first VTB SuperCup game, against UNICS, he banked in 33 points on 8-11 shooting including 6-8 from deep. He also dished out four assists during the 30 minutes on the floor.
Organizers of a planned museum about basketball great Larry Bird in Terre Haute are starting to assemble thousands of items ahead of its expected opening next year. The museum will be part of the new Terre Haute Convention Center, which remains under construction with an anticipated completion date of March 2022. It will include items donated by Bird and others from his career with the Boston Celtics, Indiana State University and the U.S. Olympic team. The site for work on cataloging the memorabilia is being modified for security and should be ready within weeks, the Tribune-Star reported.
September 20, 2021 | 4:09 am EDT Update
According to a league source, projections indicate that a $171 million salary cap is possible, assuming no cap smoothing, by 2025. Should the NBPA instead agree to cap smoothing, it’s likely the league will still see annual increases to the extent of $15 million, according to source.
The NBA also has a $1.5 billion streaming deal with Chinese-based company Tencent Holdings. “I think everyone expects that so long as the public is demonstrating through ratings that they are watching the NBA, you can probably expect increases there as well,” said former CBS Sports president Neal Pilson. “I would think the NBA is going to look for significant increases.”
Brother Pau Gasol recently spoke with Spanish newspaper Marca, and the topic of Marc’s future came up. “Marc has earned the freedom and flexibility to make his own decision and he will do so when he decides. I know he has a lot of enthusiasm for Basquet Girona, a club in which I am also involved as vice president. He is in a different situation, because he is five years younger than me. We will see what he decides to do this season and later, I am also waiting.“