Cavaliers, Celtics Suns, Timberwolves Reportedly Exploring Jimmy Butler Trade

Celtics Jimmy Butler Trade Rumors NBA

The Celtics hope a core of Isaiah Thomas, Al Horford, Butler, and Heyward will put them on par with the Cavaliers immediately in the east.

With the Celtics now owning the No. 3 pick, and potentially three first-round picks in 2018, they have the capital to make a run at Butler.

The Jazz have a real shot at re-signing Hayward, who is also expected to draw interest from the Heat. Does adding Butler to the mix get them over the hump?

Think of it this way: If you polled a bunch of Celtics fans week ago asking if they'd trade the first overall pick as part of a package including Crowder for Butler, nobody would say it. But the Bulls didn't engage in February without the potential of that pick being No. 1, and once the trade with the 76ers is finalized, it will drop to No. 3.

It's all speculation at this point with less than a week until the draft, so this could all just be one big Danny Ainge-inspired smokescreen. Since the star wing has a minimum of two full seasons left, the Bulls could expect a rich haul in return for Butler.

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Enter the Celtics, who then chose to move back two spots to No. 3 and acquire an additional future first-round pick in the process. That's why they asked for at least three - and, in some proposals, four - assets last June in their talks with the Celtics.

The Timberwolves and Bulls reportedly made preliminary contact this week regarding a potential Jimmy Butler deal.

"Philadelphia said, 'We don't want Jimmy Butler, we like our youth movement", Smith said on ESPN.

Only the Celtics know if that will change by Thursday.

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