Jimmy Butler, who is a perennial All-Star and one of the best two-way players in the league, has requested a trade from the Minnesota Timberwolves, naming the Knicks, Nets, and Clippers as his top three destinations.
After all the talk of Jimmy Butler and Kyrie Irving wanting to play together, the Celtics were not in Butler’s top three. Los Angeles seems to be the most likely destination, considering the Clippers have enough money for two max deals. Butler is drawn towards landing there, giving him the chance to play with another big star.
Although the Celtics have the assets and players to possibly land Butler, they should not buy in and stick to the team they have. “Sheehan are you crazy?! How could you not want Butler?” Well, gather around children and let me tell you why.
If the Celtics were to try and trade for Jimmy Butler, they would likely give up Jaylen Brown, a pick, and another solid player, such as Marcus Morris. There is no need to give up Jaylen Brown, who has the potential to be a player like Butler, or even better.
Jaylen Brown, 21 and entering his third season, is growing every year. Meanwhile, Jimmy Butler is 29, has reached his max potential, and will be looking for a max contract, which the Celtics will not be able to afford, considering they already have to worry about signing Kyrie Irving.
In the 2017-2018 season, Jaylen Brown averaged 14.5 PPG, 4.9 TRB, and 1.6 AST, while shooting 46.5% from the field and 39.5% from beyond the arc. He also averaged a steal per game, 11.5 FGA, while playing 30.7 minutes in the 70 games he played. Jimmy Butler averaged 22.2 PPG, 5.3 TRB, and 4.9 AST while shooting 47.4% from the field and 35% from beyond the arc. He also averaged two steals per game, 15.6 FGA, while playing 36.7 minutes in the 59 games he played.
Although Butler had better averages, you have to remember that he was a first option scorer and the T-Wolves best player. Brown was a second and even third option scorer, who you could argue to be the third or even fourth best player on the Celtics (fourth or fifth when Hayward is healthy). Let’s not forget the performances Brown had in the playoffs. Although Game 7 of the Conference Finals was rough, he was able to put up 18 PPG while shooting around 47% from the field and 39% from behind the arc, with a postseason-high of 34 points against the Milwaukee Bucks.
Brown is already averaging more points per game, a better field goal percentage, three-point percentage, and has the same total rebounds per game, all in 8 minutes less than what Jimmy Butler did at that stage in his career. Safe to say, Brown is catching up.
The Celtics do not need another star at the moment. They have both Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward returning, an already potential All-Star in Jayson Tatum entering his sophomore season, a growing two-way guard and potential All-Star in Jaylen Brown, a consistent big man in Al Horford, and a bench that has the potential to be the best in the league. Let’s not forget they have a top coach in Brad Stevens leading them from the sidelines. The Celtics will finally be able to show how good they can really be, starting the 2018-19 season with a fully healthy team.
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