After a quiet start to free agency, the Celtics have been linked to Jimmy Butler, who is not a free agent until 2019. The Celtics would either have to wait a year to sign him in free agency, or try to acquire him via trade with the Timberwolves. The rumors stem from a report from Chicago Sun Times’ Joe Cowley that notes Kyrie Irving would like to play with Butler.
A league source close to the situation told the Sun-Times on Tuesday that Kyrie Irving and former Bulls All-Star Jimmy Butler are still trying to figure out a way to play together. Whether that means the Celtics try and acquire Butler this summer or the two simply wait a year, both opt out of their player options after the season, and join forces that way.
Either way, the two former Team USA Basketball teammates are looking for a destination to build an elite backcourt, whether that’s in Celtics green or elsewhere in the East.
Not that this hasn’t been lurking for quite some time, either.
Last June, the Sun-Times was the first to report that Irving was looking to get out of Cleveland, with the Bulls being on his wish list. He made that known to several of his former Team USA teammates, including Butler.
Here’s an early look at what the Celtics roster and starting lineup could look like if Boston waited until 2019 to try to pursue Butler. Keep in mind this roster will continue to look different as free agency goes on.
Celtics Roster & Projected Starting Lineup With Jimmy Butler in 2019-20
C- Al Horford, Aron Baynes, Daniel Theis
PF- Jayson Tatum, Marcus Morris,
SF- Jimmy Butler, Semi Ojeleye, Abdel Nader
SG- Gordon Hayward, Jaylen Brown
PG- Kyrie Irving, Terry Rozier, Kadeem Allen
Celtics Free Agents 2018: Greg Monroe (UFA), Marcus Smart (RFA), Shane Larkin (UFA), Jonathan Gibson (UFA), Jabari Bird (RFA)
Celtics Free Agents 2019: Al Horford (PO), Marcus Morris (UFA), Kyrie Irving (PO), Terry Rozier (RFA), Guerschon Yabusele (TO), Jayson Tatum (TO), Jaylen Brown (TO), Daniel Theis (UFA), Kadeem Allen (RFA)
Source: Heavy Sports