NBA All-Star Weekend Buzz: Will Boston Celtics Finally Pounce on Jimmy Butler?

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NEW ORLEANS — Five items heard, seen or clarified from an All-Star Weekend of all things NBA

Boston Celtics Are on the Clock

A common question around town over the weekend was whether the Boston Celtics, who have assembled the ingredients needed for a superstar trade package but have gone so long without finding a suitable partner, would make it happen this week.

Here’s hoping they have the nerve to make Jimmy Butler their prize.

If the Celtics make that move, LeBron James’ unshakable hold on the Eastern Conference might finally loosen. Butler to the Celtics is a big enough deal—with legit NBA Finals ramifications—to put in perspective the relatively inconsequential move of DeMarcus Cousins from one mediocre team in Sacramento to another in New Orleans.

The Celtics have reservations, according to league sources, about adding Butler after how wonderfully the Isaiah Thomas emergence has gone. There is valid reason for concern, because Thomas is reveling in his top-dog status.

This is what he said after the All-Star Game late Sunday night: “I’m coming for the scoring title.”

Would Isaiah Thomas blend well with Jimmy Butler?Rich Pedroncelli/Associated Press

Thomas is second in the league with 29.9 points per game to Russell Westbrook‘s 31.1.

Thing is, the Celtics have to realize that it’s always going to be risky when you go all-in. To win a title, you need to have multiple star players, and those players must figure out how to work together.

Boston has a chance to have three top pieces in Butler, Thomas and Al Horford, when the Celtics very recently were winning a lot of hands despite not actually holding any aces. They already have a future gem in Jaylen Brown and still hold abundant draft picks, and Butler is such a perfect fit with his fire and two-way excellence.

He absolutely has an ego, but he has earned that right.

Maybe a deal could get done without including the Celtics’ projected No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 draft (originally Brooklyn’s selection), but including that pick would make it easy to do business.

Getting the potential top selection after the Kings just got that tepid haul for Cousins would be a huge victory for Bulls management—and a narrative about-face for John Paxson and Gar Forman after they seemed confused in delaying the rebuilding process last summer.

Paxson and Forman recently got a vote of confidence from Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf, per K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune, and can count themselves among the few executives who can feel comfortable restarting the franchise, even with Dwyane Wade around. Other NBA decision-makers are hoping that if the Bulls blow it up right after the Kings started over, it’ll set a tone for sellers to do so before Thursday’s trade deadline.

The Toronto Raptors already showed their belief that James’ Cleveland Cavaliers are vulnerable by making what could be their pivotal move for Serge Ibaka. But the Celtics are in even better position with the strong possibility of having home-court…