Boston, MA - Whenever a superstar caliber player in the NBA is said to have requested a trade for his team or that the team has put that player on the trading block, every team tries to see if there would be a way to incorporate that talent into his, or her, own favorite team. Boston Celtics fans were no different when it was made apparent that Jimmy Butler was looking for a way to get out of Minnesota so he no longer had to be on the Timberwolves. However, it quickly became clear that Butler was not going to be a fit with Boston.
Celtics fans then resorted to hoping that Butler would not be traded into the Eastern Conference and would instead remain safely in the Western Conference, where the Celtics could largely avoid the gauntlet that would pose. However, the worst fears have been realized by Celtics fans as the path to the NBA Finals just became significantly more difficult for their beloved boys in green.
Going into the season, many Celtics fans (myself included) believed that the Eastern Conference was ripe for the taking and, beyond this, Boston would not have much trouble taking it. After a couple games, it was clear that destiny with the Best of the West would not be a cake walk for Boston because their All-Star caliber lineup was not coalescing as expected and the Toronto Raptors proved to be very formidable en route to their current status as the best team in the East.
But now, things are very different. On Saturday, the Minnesota Timberwolves agreed to ship Butler and Justin Patton to the Philadelphia 76ers for Robert Covington, Dario Saric, Jerryd Bayless, and a second round pick in the 2022 NBA Draft. Now, the 76ers pose a core of Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, and Butler. As far as I can tell, this drops the Celtics down to the third best contender in the East. The number one seed may be slowly slipping away from the Celtics as they are going to have to run through some post-season juggernauts. If the Celtics want to compete, they will have to make sure their super team comes together like Philadelphia’s and Toronto’s surely will.