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The Bulls and Celtics could not work out a Jimmy Butler deal

both sides leaking to make themselves look good

NBA All-Star Game 2017 - Practice Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

So the trade deadline has passed, and while the Bulls made a significant trade for once, they did not deal Jimmy Butler.

Leaks are coming out all over in the postmortem. It’s tough to know what to believe.

First, let’s laugh at Boston. They not only didn’t get Butler or Paul George, they didn’t make a single move. This is the look of a guy who played things PERFECTLY.

Now the question is how close did the Bulls get to moving Butler, and how it pertains to them perhaps engaging in trades again this offseason.

From what we’ll likely hear from the Bulls side, they were never close, never made a call (as Zach Lowe joked recently on a podcast, the Bulls insist they have no working phones so they couldn’t shop players if they wanted to), and they value Jimmy and they like their guys and they’re excited about that.

It did really seem like nothing moved much in the final couple days. What we can maybe get a handle on is:

  1. what the Celtics offered
  2. what the Bulls were asking for

If this is true, then no discussions were ever going to even get started.

(FWIW, reportedly that pick was IN play when it came to Paul George)

So the Celtics are dumb for that and this was all pretty pointless, good on the Bulls for holding firm on an easy decision.

But then again, Woj is saying (this is via his Facebook live show, haven’t found a link yet) that the 2017 pick was available (perhaps protected), and confirmed earlier reporting that the Bulls for additional compensation were prioritizing Boston rotation players over other picks. (and Lowe just posted more on this notion) If that’s true, then the Bulls would then be dumb. Good to wring as much value as possible, of course, but picks makes more sense than present-valued players, both due to a Butler-less timeline of being crappy/young and the concept that the Celtics wouldn’t want to do a trade to harm their current team.

So both sides may have been dumb, and it’s really hard and unlikely to trade a player like Butler in the first place. So thankfully the Bulls were not dumb enough to sell low midseason for the sake of ‘doing something’. There’s always the offseason, where we’ll know where the Brooklyn pick lands and perhaps other suitors show themselves. And there’s always keeping your top-10 player and building around him, too.