Paul George and Jimmy Butler went talked about in trade rumors as constantly as anybody, but both will stay with their respective teams.
We’re looking at you, Danny Ainge. The Boston Celtics did a phenomenal job making everyone believe they would trade for one of the star forwards, but Ainge couldn’t find a deal sweet enough to part with his assets and picks — even if it meant getting George or Butler.
Whether it was Ainge or Indiana or Chicago, someone didn’t want the trade to go down — even with Brooklyn’s pick being in the package. It’s not the end of the world for the Celtics, but the Toronto Raptors got a lot better with the additions of P.J. Tucker and Serge Ibaka, and the Washington Wizards bolstered their bench after trading for Bojan Bogdanovic.
The Bulls, well, they’re the Bulls. With no identity, chemistry issues and a questionable coaching job, it was their chance to inch closer to a rebuild since it’ll be extremely hard for them to have any success with this team going forward. Butler’s a star in this league and is a reliable perimeter jump shot away from superstar status, and he’s also the second-best two-way player in the game.
If Boston were to have traded for him, they become the East’s second-best team and present a legitimate problem to the Cleveland Cavaliers. The defense would be tightened up with an All-Defensive-caliber wing, and they would have a second guy who’s able to create for himself to complement Isaiah Thomas. George may have fit better because he’s more accurate from three and can play off the ball, but there’s no debating that Butler is the better player.
As for Indiana, why they didn’t do everything in their power to move George is beyond me. They even got a “monster offer” from the Denver Nuggets, but it clearly wasn’t enough. It’s evident that George doesn’t want to be there long-term if they can’t turn into a contender, and he’s ready to jump ship and join the Los Angeles Lakers after next season, according to Sam Amick of USA TODAY Sports.
Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad if the Pacers had made other moves, but it was quiet on their front, which only makes them holding on to George more puzzling.
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