With the NBA draft in eight days, trade talks involving a couple big names have surfaced over the last couple of days, which could lead to a hectic draft day next Thursday.
The largest name involved in these talks is current Chicago Bulls shooting guard Jimmy Butler. One of the true young talents who has a complete two-way game, Butler could be on his way out of the Windy City as the Bulls look to rebuild from what was a massively disappointing season under first year coach Fred Hoiberg who replaced Tom Thibodeau. However, Thibdeau was hired as the new head coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves, who seem to be one of the major players in the Jimmy Butler sweepstakes.
A trade for Butler would mean the T-Wolves would have to part ways with one of their young talents, most likely Andrew Wiggins, who is at the top of the Bulls list. Also being shipped to Chicago with Wiggins would the fifth overall pick in next weeks draft. One of the worst kept secrets during this draft season has been Chicago’s infatuation with Providence point guard Kris Dunn, who wouldn’t be around at #14, where Chicago currently sits.
Drafting Dunn would also open the trade gates for Derrick Rose, who played his best season in five years. Chicago is reportedly looking to move the former MVP, but seemingly no franchise would want an often injured, overpaid point guard in a league littered with elite guard talent.
Another potential trade partner for Butler is the Boston Celtics. Boston has an embarrassment of draft picks and other assets they are likely to dangle throughout the whole offseason as they look to get a franchise player to lead their team under newly extended head coach Brad Stevens. A package for Butler would include the third overall pick, Avery Bradley, and another asset or two from Boston to Chicago.
The Celtics may be hesitant to move this pick after having workouts with Kentucky freshman Jamal Murray and Oklahoma senior Buddy Hield, who both impressed in front of Celtics brass. Murray connected on 79 of his 100 three pointers he attempted, while Hield hit 85 of 100 threes. This could increase the value of the number three pick, which plays into Boston’s favor, or it could make them second guess on moving the pick after seeing what two of the top five prospects in this class have to offer. If Butler comes to Boston, does Kevin Durant take a serious look at the C’s?
On the free agency front, Raptors All-Star guard DeMar Derozan officially opted out of the last year of his contract and will be an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his career. The franchise that immediately becomes the front runner for his services are the Los Angeles Lakers. Derozan is from Compton and played his college ball at USC, so the potential return back to Cali in the bright lights of the Staples Center is likely to intrigue him. Also, the Lakers have a ton of young talent that figures to only get stronger as they hold the second pick in the draft, which will give them the opportunity to draft Brandon Ingram.
The biggest fish in the free agent market, Kevin Durant, has remained silent on where he’s leaning on playing in the 2016-2017 season. One of our writers is clear in his stance that he doesn’t want KD to come to Boston, but they’re preparing to make a huge run at him. The Celtics have loved him since he first announced he was going to the NBA back in ’07, and when the Celtics weren’t able to get him, they traded for Ray Allen instead. Durant will command max money, good talent around him, and the freedom to be the true number one option, something he doesn’t have in OKC. Boston and Danny Ainge can provide all three, but Durant will be doing some serious homework before he decides on where he wants to continue his quest for a championship.
Cover Photo via ClutchPoints