• Jimmy Butler

Jimmy Butler (Photo : NBAE via Getty Images)

The NBA trade rumors reach their peak just hours before the deadline and the fight for Jimmy Butler just got interesting.

The latest buzz has the Boston Celtics with a new rival for the services of Chicago Bulls' star player Jimmy Butler. However, there seems to be a point of disagreement with what the Bulls are asking in return. David Aldridge told Celtics Hub scribe Brian Robb:

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"I think the Jimmy Butler stuff is real," Aldridge said on NBA TV. "They have been trying to get Jimmy Butler. [Ainge] doesn't want to give up Jae Crowder. That's the main sticking point there and he doesn't want to give up Jae Crowder in a deal and that's the guy the Bulls are insisting on right now in any package for Butler."

Aldridge narrated the Celtics side: "The picks will work themselves out. Boston has about 600 first-round picks in the next five years, so they'll make it work. That part I'm not worried about. I think it really comes down to Crowder. In terms of real, tangible players, I think Danny would like to go into the playoffs with Smart, Bradley, Crowder defensively along with Butler, Horford, Thomas offensively. I think he feels like that's he only way they'll be able to compete with a team like Cleveland."

But the Bulls also have a rational argument: "Chicago, I think rightly, is saying, 'If you want our best player, we're not going to just do it for picks. We're not going to take guys you aren't going to keep on your roster. We want a guy that is going to be able to grow with us, along with one of those high picks.' They want a top half of the lottery type of pick for Jimmy Butler, along with a starting established player under contract. I understand that from Chicago's point of view."

The Celtics' stand is that the Brooklyn pick swap is valuable in itself and they don't want to lose any key player along with that. They feel that they don't want to lose the pick if it doesn't place them in a position to beat the Cleveland Cavaliers. If they give up Crowder, then the trade is for naught.

This is where the Sixers come in. They have a player that the Bulls want, as KC Johnson of The Chicago Tribune stated: "The Bulls have told teams that have inquired about Butler -- including, according to a source, the 76ers -- that they have no plans to trade him...Of course, one blockbuster offer could change that stance. And the Celtics are loaded with assets. Most league observers expect the teams to at least have dialogue Thursday after engaging in serious talks centered on Butler last June," Johnson wrote. "The 76ers have been shopping Whitney Young product and 2015 No. 3 overall pick Jahlil Okafor for weeks but haven't shown much interest in Mirotic."

The problem with the Sixers is that they are trading Mirotic for him, not Butler. But the Sixers can agree to take Mirotic, add more assets and players and make a bid for Butler. They have their own pick which is likely to land in the lottery, but they can also swap with the Sacramento Kings if their pick is higher. They also own the Lakers pick if it falls outside the top 3.

The Sixers can trade one of those picks along with Okafor, but they may need more than that to match the Celtics package if they include Crowder.