• Jimmy Butler

Jimmy Butler (Photo : NBAE via Getty Images)

The NBA rumors in the aftermath of the trade deadline are slowly surfacing. One team that tediously monitored the transactions was the Cleveland Cavaliers.

In the latest edition of The Lowe Post podcast of ESPN top scribe Zach Lowe, Brian Windhorst was quoted. (h/t The Score)

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"The Cavs were on pins and needles about the Celtics (possibly) getting Paul George or Jimmy Butler. Pins and needles. If it's Isaiah Thomas, Al Horford, and Jimmy Butler, the Cavs might be out there saying, 'We might have to trade Kevin Love.'" Windhorst said.

There was no elaboration on Windhorst's sources but it stands to reason that the Cavs would be concerned if their rivals gain more strength, and it's not like the Cavaliers are content with their roster. They were rumored to be pursuing a trade for Carmelo Anthony except that they did not want to lose Kevin Love in the process.

The uncertainty in Cleveland is real but their focus is already on the Golden State Warriors because, as most observers note, the Cavs have a beeline to the Eastern Conference crown.

The Boston Celtics were very close to closing a deal with Jimmy Butler. They had reportedly placed the Brooklyn Nets' draft picks on the table but that was not enough. According to various reports, the Chicago Bulls were demanding two (or three) out of Jae Crowder, Marcus Smart, rookie Jaylen Brown and Terry Rozier. There were also talks of the Boston Celtics throwing in Amir Johnson, an expiring contract and /or Kelly Olynyk.

The Celtics were also rumored to be pursuing Paul George but with recent reports indicating that George will only consider re-signing with only the Pacers and LA Lakers, Danny Ainge did not cave nor did they make any other trade.

Is that a cause for regret? The Basketball Network assessed whether not trading for Butler was a wasted opportunity.

"Granted, Boston wouldn't be as powerful because they'd be parting with a few of their assets. Jae Crowder and Marcus Smart would've likely been shipped, but the Celtics would easily go shot-for-shot with Cleveland," Zach Cronin of TBN said.

"However, betting against LeBron in the playoffs is hard to do. In winning last year's championship, James put together the greatest three-game stretch in Finals history. The year prior, the losses of Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love ultimately led to the Golden State Warriors raising the trophy."

The Celtics may have thought that even with Butler, beating the Cavs AND the Warriors in consecutive series might be beyond them. That was the only reason to risk all their assets-if they had a legitimate shot at the title. Ultimately, the answer to that was "no."