USA TODAY Sports’ Jeff Zillgitt breaks down the biggest story lines in the East as the regular season winds down.
USA TODAY Sports
The New Orleans Pelicans and Sacramento Kings started the NBA’s trade deadline season with a monster of a blockbuster trade.
What’s next? Who’s next? You’re going to hear a lot about Chicago Bulls All-Star Jimmy Butler going to the Boston Celtics, who have the assets to make this happen.
But here’s insight into the Celtics and those assets, which include several first-round picks in the next three drafts: Boston president of basketball operations Danny Ainge has been stingy with those picks, waiting for the right player and right fit for the roster under Coach Brad Stevens.
That doesn’t mean Boston won’t make a deal, but Ainge is not under pressure to make a deal just for the sake of making one because he has the means. He’s content taking the long view and drafting quality players until he finds the perfect deal. Draft picks give a team vast flexibility for the present and future.
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While willing to listen and discuss deals, the Bulls have not shown a desire to move Butler, who gives them a chance to make the playoffs this season. They are not actively shopping him now.
Butler, 27, remains a player to build around. Don’t forget, the Bulls have draft picks and will have salary cap flexibility within the next two seasons. They can retool while keeping…
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