During his time with the Boston Celtics, former President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge made his fair share of blockbuster trades. He landed Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen in the summer of 2007, the draft picks that became Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown in 2013, Isaiah Thomas at the 2015 trade deadline, and Kyrie Irving in the summer of 2017.
Ainge recently appeared on the Knuckleheads podcast, hosted by Quentin Richardson and Darius Miles. While chatting with Richardson, he revealed that he nearly landed Jimmy Butler in a blockbuster trade back in 2016. However, he never pulled the trigger due to the Chicago Bulls’ high asking price, which would’ve seen Boston give up the aforementioned Tatum and Brown draft picks.
“Some of the best trades I ever made were the ones that I wasn’t able to make,” Ainge told Richardson and Miles. “You know, like I was trying to get Jimmy Butler from Chicago when I was in Boston, but they wanted a lot. And so we didn’t do it. Because it would’ve, and it ended up would’ve been Jaylen and Jayson. Both those draft picks — that we got Jaylen and Jayson with, so that was one that like I loved Jimmy and I was trying to get him — could’ve drafted Jimmy late, I liked him even then. But like now, he’d be proving how good of a player he was. Yeah, that was probably one.”
Jimmy Butler has become one of the Boston Celtics’ biggest rivals
Since Ainge’s decision to not bring Butler to the Boston Celtics, the five-time All-NBA forward has been a thorn in the Cs’ sides. He’s helped the Miami Heat be a seemingly-evergreen threat in the Eastern Conference, helping them reach the NBA Finals last season as a No. 8 seed.
Butler’s Heat have squared off against the Celtics in three of the last four Eastern Conference Finals, advancing past Boston twice.
The former Marquette star was a force in the postseason last year, averaging 26.9 points per game while shooting 46.8% from the field and 35.9% from beyond the arc.
Make no mistake, Ainge was absolutely right not to go through with the deal to bring Butler to Boston. Tatum and Brown have become the pillars of a bright future for the Celtics. Both forwards have been named to multiple All-Star teams and have also been named to All-NBA teams.
Brown just signed a five-year, $304 million extension to remain in Boston, and Tatum is due for a similar deal next summer.
The only thing that’s evaded the star duo has been an NBA championship — something that Celtics fans hope is on the horizon.
- Published on 08/15/2023 at 10:34 AM EDT
- Last updated on 08/15/2023 at 10:34 AM EDT