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BOSTON – It’s no secret that the Boston Celtics are among the many teams that would love to swing a deal to acquire Chicago’s Jimmy Butler.
Well for now at least, it appears the Bulls aren’t willing to budge off moving their all-star small forward.
A league source tells CSNNE.com that the Bulls, while still open to listening to offers for Butler, are telling teams that are inquiring about his availability that their plan for now is to keep him in the fold.
And while there was some thought that a top-3 pick coupled with a few decent players might be enough to entice the Bulls to pull the trigger on a deal to trade Butler, CSNNE.com has been told such an offer would have to include at least one “legitimate, NBA starter” for the Bulls to even possibly consider trading him.
“And that might be a stretch,” the source indicated.
Any deal involving Butler to Boston from Chicago’s perspective, would most likely have to include Jae Crowder who is one of the best bargains in the NBA – and will be so for years to come.
With the increased salary cap on the horizon this summer for teams, the five-year, $35 million deal Crowder signed last summer is looking like an absolute steal on the Celtics’ part.
Meanwhile, Butler just completed the first year of a five-year, $92.3 million contract which raises questions if you’re the Celtics as to whether the difference in their salaries makes doing such a deal worth it.
If you’re the Celtics, such a deal would be a significant bump in paid-out salaries but it would also better position Boston to acquire a second superstar a la Kevin Durant who will be a free agent this summer.
There are a number of options for the Celtics to consider in their current rebuilding process, with one possibility being to fall back on the ‘07 “blueprint for success.”
Boston used the No. 5 overall pick (Jeff Green) as part of a trade with Seattle (now Oklahoma City) that helped the Celtics land Ray Allen.
A couple of months later, Boston was able to engineer a trade for Kevin Garnett who played for Minnesota at the time.
And the rest was Banner 17 history.
Without acquiring Allen, there was no way the Celtics were going to land Garnett.
And if the goal for the Celtics is to catapult itself to being a title contender sooner rather than later, they’re going to have to acquire an elite, all-star caliber talent before they have a serious shot at Durant.
Could Butler be this year’s Ray Allen?
At this point, the Bulls have no intention of allowing that to happen.
More likely than not, the Celtics will have to go in a different direction which may result in Boston pulling off a deal for Sacramento’s DeMarcus Cousins.
Like the Bulls, the Kings are saying all the right things now about not wanting to trade him.
The Bruins have three players headed to the IIHF Hockey World Championship, which begin this weekend in Russia.
Brad Marchand was invited to play for Team Canada early on in the process, coming off his 37-goal season for the Bruins. Last week the Czech Republic added 19-year-old right wing David Pastrnak to their squad with plans to skate on a line with the Montreal Canadiens' Tomas Plekanec.
And Frank Vatrano -- who scored a total of 44 goals between Boston and Providence in this, his first full professional season -- was added to the Team USA roster this week. Vatrano, 22, confirmed it on his own Twitter account on Tuesday night prior to hopping on a flight bound for Russia:
Honored to represent @usahockey in the world championships ! Off to Russia— Frank Vatrano (@Frank_Vatrano) May 3, 2016
Torey Krug played for Team USA last season, but was unavailable this time around after undergoing right shoulder surgery just a couple of weeks ago that will have him sidelined until late October.
Vatrano is one of four Massachusetts players on this year's version of Team USA. The others are Canadiens goaltender Mike Condon, Hurricanes defenseman Noah Hanifin and Devils D-man David Warsofsky.
Both Marchand and Pastrnak previously suited up for their countries in the World Junior championships, and Vatrano played in the U.S. National Team Development Program prior to playing college hockey at the University of Massachusetts. Vatrano also previously represented the U.S. at the 2012 IIHF Under-18 Men's World Championship in Brno and Znojmo, Czech Republic, where he helped Team USA claim the gold medal.
The IIHF Men's World Championships will start Friday and run until May 22 in Moscow and St. Petersburg, Russia. It features featuring many of the NHL players that aren’t participating in the Stanley Cup playoffs.