Sources continued to say that, while there remains a chance things could change as the deadline draws nearer, Chicago and Indiana are more likely to retain Jimmy Butler and Paul George, respectively. Those All-Star talents have been the Celtics’ two main targets, and the club will no doubt work to put together an attractive trade package if either is truly on the market.
The Bulls have told teams that have inquired about Butler — including, according to a source, the 76ers — that they have no plans to trade him. Of course, one blockbuster offer could change that stance. And the Celtics are loaded with assets. Most league observers expect the teams to at least have dialogue Thursday after engaging in serious talks centered on Butler last June.
Adrian Wojnarowski on Jimmy Butler: Boston at some point this week will reach back out, I’m fairly certain, and maybe come back with another offer. They’ve talked in the past. Chicago is in a position where they want someone to blow them away with an offer. Boston has the opportunity because of having the Brooklyn’s pick.
Chris Mannix: I don’t think, for my understanding, that Boston has any desire to put Jaylen Brown in that deal. They’re big believers in Jaylen Brown’s future out there.
The Celtics have reservations, according to league sources, about adding Butler after how wonderfully the Isaiah Thomas emergence has gone. There is valid reason for concern, because Thomas is reveling in his top-dog status. This is what he said after the All-Star Game late Sunday night: "I'm coming for the scoring title."
A deal for Butler now seems unlikely, unless the Bulls are posturing. There is some debate over whether Boston did or did not ever include the 2017 Nets pick in an official offer, but they'd have to for Chicago to really engage. Perhaps clarity will come at the lottery, after Chicago sees how far Butler can take their current team and everyone knows where Boston will pick.
Plenty can happen before Thursday's 2 p.m. trade deadline, but according to multiple sources, the Bulls and Celtics haven't held substantive talks about Butler since June, and Butler's camp is under the impression that the Bulls won't move the three-time All-Star this week.
Of course, even if the Bulls were to reach an organizational consensus on trading Butler before Thursday, it takes two to tango. And league sources indicated the Celtics have been underwhelmed by all preliminary offers for their main future assets — the Nets' 2017 and 2018 first-round picks. The former could be the top pick in a strong draft.
Meanwhile, the Bulls have been somewhat indifferent to potentially moving Butler, who is playing his third all-star game tonight. That’s why several teams, the Celtics included, have inquired about Butler’s availability. While the Bulls haven’t set any specific parameters, league executives believe they are seeking some combination of high draft picks and young veterans (players with experience who are either near the end of their rookie deals or have team-friendly contracts) just to consider moving Butler.
That more than anything else, is what will ultimately determine if a deal between the Bulls and the Celtics comes to pass. Boston loves Butler, and believes he could be part of their continued surge towards becoming an elite team that can bring home Banner 18. But the Celtics are not convinced that the addition of Butler would necessarily catapult Boston to the same level of Cleveland or ahead of them.
There have been tepid discussions about Butler-to-the-Celtics at various times over the past year, though nothing pressing in recent weeks, according to league sources. It’s safe to assume that there will be renewed talks this week. But that does not mean a deal will get done, not with both sides tentative about the wisdom of a trade that the rest of the NBA’s observer class seems to think is such an obvious fit.
League sources told SN this weekend that the Bulls are still very much uncertain of the direction they want to take this season. Rebuilding makes the most sense — the decision to sign veterans Rajon Rondo and Dwyane Wade last summer was a mistake — but the Bulls are still very much in position to make the playoffs in the East.
Adrian Wojnarowski: The potential of a Boston, Chicago deal for Jimmy Butler would loom over the entire week. These teams have engaged on the potential of this trade, they have not gotten far down the road on it. There still need to be an alignment within the Bulls’ organization from ownership to management that they want to make the decision to enter a full rebuild.
Adrian Wojnarowski: The fact that the Celtics swap with Brooklyn this year, they have their pick which could be potentially a Top-3 pick and they have the Brooklyn’s pick outright next year. Either one of those picks, I don’t think Chicago can get both of them, that’s the beginning point of a deal for the Bulls for Jimmy Butler.
Boston’s shown minimal interest in Anthony, preferring to continue its pursuit of persuading Chicago (Jimmy Butler) and Indiana (Paul George) to engage in trade talks that involve two younger, more well-rounded stars.
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.”
May 30, 2023 | 8:51 pm EDT Update
Michael Malone on Heat: 'For those who are thinking that this is going to be an easy series...this is going to be the biggest challenge of our lives'
“We’ve got the utmost respect for them,” Gordon said. “They fight and they scrap, and they have no quit in them. They play through 48 minutes a game and more, if necessary. They play fearless. They play disciplined. They’re well coached and have some guys that have been there before and have some guys that have chips on their shoulder. We’re not looking at the seeding or the story around it. This is a very talented basketball team, professional basketball team, and all those guys over there got game.”
The New Orleans Pelicans plan to restructure their player care and performance team after their injury-marred 2022-23 season, sources told The Times-Picayune. Aaron Nelson, the Pelicans vice president of player performance and care, has been in charge of that department for the last four seasons. Under Nelson, the Pelicans have finished seventh, 27th, 20th and seventh in games lost to injury, according to Man-Games Lost.
ClutchPoints: “Before the trophies and the memories over this run, I remember I told you ‘you better get it right!’ And you did… Forever grateful for you as a friend forever.” Steph Curry with a powerful tribute to Warriors GM Bob Myers💙 (via stephencurry30/IG)
NBA Central: Robert Horry says he’s taking Hakeem over Shaq and Duncan (Via @shobasketball) pic.twitter.com/29qcpqw3pI
May 30, 2023 | 7:35 pm EDT Update
Tyler Herro on return: I'm going to be working out multiple times everyday until I come back
Within the past week, Herro was cleared to shoot and dribble with the surgically repaired hand. But he hasn’t yet participated in a contact practice. “I’m going to be working out every day, twice, two, three times a day from here until the day I hopefully come back,” said Herro, who is traveling with the team. “So I’m always going to continue to work hard and see how my body responds day by day and try to come back as soon as possible.”
“I’ve never once missed it,” Atlanta Hawks star Dejounte Murray says. “That explains my professionalism, my attention to detail. I gotta have it. Every game day, gotta be the same. Whether at home or on the road.” Says Toronto Raptors veteran Chris Boucher: “It’s just to make sure that I’m in the right state of mind. It makes you feel good. I never miss sleep.” The thing is, NBA players almost have to be good at day-sleeping, because their schedules are profoundly abnormal. It’s easy to forget that they work nights, with most games starting at 7:30 and finishing around 10 p.m. They might not get home, or to the hotel, until midnight—or possibly 2 or 3 a.m., if the team flew immediately after the game. And of course there are, uh, lifestyle factors in play, too. Pro athletes are known to enjoy the nightlife—yet even for those that don’t, it can be a challenge to wind down after spending two to three hours hopped up on adrenaline. And because most teams hold a morning shootaround—sometime between 9-11 a.m.—they can’t just sleep in on game days.