NBA

Danny Ainge & Brad Stevens.

Rumour: The Boston Celtics pursued Chicago Bulls' Jimmy Butler up to the trade deadline

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The trade deadline was something of an anomaly in the NBA this year. No major moves were made with the jump in salary caps expected to take place in the summer, but plenty of speculation has surfaced over some near misses.

As with all rumours regarding trades, much of the hearsay can be taken with a pinch of salt. However, the Boston Celtics activity in the run-up to February 18th has given the league and it's faithful fans an insight into general manager Danny Ainge's mindset moving forward.

Steve Bulprett of the Boston Herald has reported that Ainge was determined to add "someone who can move them to the next level," a league source was quoted as saying.

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The Chicago Bulls' Jimmy Butler is said to have been a main target for the Celtics as the deadline approached, as was Paul George of the Indiana Pacers.

However, it's been suggested it was the currently injured Butler that caught the bulk of Ainge's intentions.

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Bulprett reported: "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."

Where the lottery balls fall on the Nets draft pick must be of huge interest to the Celtics. Should they drop favourably into one of the top three spots, they could gain a future franchise player with instant contribution potential.

Should the balls drop anywhere between four and seven, they may still collect an exciting talent, but will also possess a tantalising pick to manoeuvre a big trade, too.

Chicago Bulls v Boston Celtics

The most successful franchise in NBA history has a plethora of draft picks this summer which gives them a strong hand in any kind of negotiation. As it stands, Boston has four picks in each of the two rounds of the draft, meaning eight new faces could land in the Massachusetts come May 17th.

It's virtually a given that the Bulls had no interest in dealing a franchise player like Butler, let alone actively shopping him around. Boston hold the picks to get telephone time with any GM in the league, but with speculation that this draft class isn't as strong as years previous, they may have a hard time proving those picks to be valuable right now.

Portland Trail Blazers v Boston Celtics

Although the Celtics have performed extremely well in the Eastern Conference this season, their roster still sports the joint-youngest average age in the NBA, alongside the Utah Jazz.

Filling their roster with a summer of picks might prove counterproductive at this stage, so it's sure to be an exciting summer in the north-east as Ainge begins to set his stall out.

Topics:
Eastern Conference
NBA
Central Division
Atlantic Division
Boston Celtics
Jimmy Butler
Chicago Bulls

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