Celtics Blog 2017-

Post Trade Deadline.

George Butler: Part I.

By Tom Mahoney

The Celtics foray into the trading deadline was one of the most exciting few days since the Super Bowl, sport wise. "All the things we pulled away from or might have been tempted to do, we didn’t do," Ainge said. "So patience, maybe, but we like what we have. We like our position and we like our future a lot." There was all kinds of wackiness going on in regards to getting George Butler. 

Now I think George is the more clutch player, and more of a Playoff Winner. He has shown that he can be the man on a Playoff winning team. But Butler had certainly surpassed him stat wise this year. So trading for George Butler looked like it could change everything.

I didn't care which one. I think both would guarantee a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals. "I’m not disappointed," Ainge said. "Not at all. I can’t wait to get back out on the road and start scouting and getting ready for the draft and continue to watch the NBA and get ready for the playoffs. I’m very optimistic and very excited about the rest of the year." And they became so closely linked that it was like they became one person, George Butler. 

But here's the rub, the Eastern Conference finals. "Yes they have [begun]," Ainge said about the attempted theft of the Brooklyn picks. "Nothing is close or imminent, but there are people calling. It’s a valuable pick so we’re going to explore that." They can't afford to give up the three veterans for George Butler, and they can't afford to give up the dynastic value of the Brooklyn picks. 

This team could beat LaBron and go to the Finals, if you added George to this team. I do believe that. I think also that many have forgotten about Avery Bradley. He might be the Celtics most clutch shooter. He might be the Celtics best rebounder (which is crucial to their spread system). He might be their best man defender. He instantly improves the team when he returns.

Plus. They have Smart. Who is the grit, toughness, and meanness on the team, and you have to have some meanness to win in basketball. In basketball nothing is given to you. You have to take it. He is also very young. He is just starting to show the shooting and passing that will make him an NBA winner in a few years. 

Crowder is developing into the ultra versatile asset that Stevens needs to run his system. He is a built up wing, who can cover power forwards when they go small. And cover some centers when they go really small. He is also one of those glue guys that the team really relies on.

Brown is the future. He is the young physical freak that the Celtics are going to develop into a Superstar. By the time he is 25, and LaBron in gone, he will be one of the Stars leading the Celtics to Championships. If the Celtics had added George to those four guys they could have given LaBron a run for his money.

There in lies the rub. Indiana wanted it all, and the 2017 Brooklyn pick (which is utterly, absolutely, and unequivocally untradeable). They wanted three of those four guys, which crashes the team instantly. Say Danny gave them Bradley, who as I said might be their best clutch shooter, rebounder, and man defender (though Smart might have a say in that). Because he has been injured during this stretch that got them into sole possession of 2nd place behind LaBron (including last nights painful loss to the Raptor). 

Then what? You can't give up Smart. He is the grit of the team. You can't give up Brown. He is part of the dynastic future of this team. You can't give up Crowder. He is the glue of the team. Without three of those four guys they simply aren't the Celtics. 

The Pacers pernicious offer would have been a theft of the future of the Celtics that they spent so much time rebuilding from scratch. "Ultimately, we had a lot of conversations, but nothing that was good enough to [come close to a] deal," Ainge said. "We won’t put a ceiling on this team, but we haven’t seen the best of this team. Our whole team hasn’t been intact for many games." They lost their three Superstars, and rebuilt the franchise with latter picks and scrap-heap players.

They built a team that is scaring the top teams in the East. "We put a lot of time and thought into this," Ainge said. "We like what we have, we like our position and we like our future a lot. We’re trying to upgrade our team, but it is a delicate balance of short-term goals and long-term goals." They are on an unprecedented precipitous for a Playoff team (that appears to be a chip or two away from winning it all), with three straight top four Lottery picks (that puts them on the verge of a Patriots like 17-year Dynasty). 

They have the three Brooklyn picks that have the dynastic potential to turn into three Superstars of the future that require ball-aching patience. "A lot of teams do a lot, and cost their franchises a lot of money, by trying to get picks like that," Ainge said. "We have very good fortune right now. The ball has bounced our way, and we need to make the most of that." You do not give up one of those picks unless it is for a guaranteed Superstar, and they sure as hell can't give up two for anything less than LaBron. 

Larry wanted two. He wanted Brown and the 2017 pick. "I’m certainly aware of all of our competition around the East," Ainge said. "It’s not from a lack of desire to want to do a trade, but as an organization we have priorities and a plan. We’re not looking for Band-Aids and we’re not looking to give up future assets. We’re trying to build something more sustainable than a rent-a-player." He wanted to steal the Celtics incredible position of contending now, and being a Dynasty in waiting, for George Butler. No. Hell no! 

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