Celtics

Stephen A. Smith: 'The Celtics are planning on acquiring Butler'

Stephen A. Smith: 'The Celtics are planning on acquiring Butler'

Stephen A. Smith said on “First Take” Monday that the trade between the Celtics and 76ers that will send the first overall pick to Philly is tied Boston’s pursuit of Bulls forward Jimmy Butler. 

Smith said that the Bulls offered Butler to the 76ers in an attempt to acquire the third overall pick in the draft, but that Philadelphia wasn’t interested. Now that Boston has the pick after trading the top selection for No. 3 and a future first, Smith believes the C’s intend to trade for Butler. He added that the Celtics would then sign Gordon Hayward in free agency. 

MORE TRADE/FREE AGENT RUMORS

“The Boston Celtics are planning on acquiring Jimmy Butler,” Smith said. “They don’t know if they’ll be able to, but their hope is they’ll be able to use the No. 3 pick, get themselves Jimmy Butler, go into free agency, get Gordon Hayward, and then combine Butler with Hayward, keeping Isaiah Thomas, Marcus Smart, Avery Bradley and those boys in tow, and making a legitimate run at the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Eastern Conference crown knowing that they then get to come back the following year and likely get another first-round pick on top of the one that they will have, etc. etc. 

“So that’s their belief right now for the Boston Celtics, the No. 3 pick, worst-case scenario that they find themselves in a position to draft somebody like a Josh Jackson out of Kansas, but the hope is that they’ll be able to use the No. 3 pick to get their hands on Jimmy Butler. They believe they’ve got a better shot than anybody at getting Gordon Hayward from Utah to come and play for his old college coach at Butler, Mr. Brad Stevens, and as a result, the combination of those two additions to the squad along with keeping the nucleus of their team intact will make them on par, at least in most folks’ eyes, to legitimately compete with the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Eastern Conference crown again.” 

Butler, 27, has two more years on his contract with a player option for the 2019-20 season. 

Marcus Smart physically cleared to play

celtics_marcus_smart_111917.jpg
File Photo

Marcus Smart physically cleared to play

The Celtics might have a big piece back for Tuesday night's Game 5 against the Bucks. 

Marcus Smart, out since last month after undergoing thumb surgery, has been physically cleared to play. The Celtics have yet to announce whether Smart will definitely play Tuesday, but it's hard to imagine the ultra-competitive Smart wouldn't. 

Smart's potential return might go a long way towards the Celtics reclaiming their series lead after winning Games 1 and 2 before dropping two straight in Milwaukee. His impact on games against the Bucks during the regular season illustrated how much his defense can help. 

How to watch/stream Milwaukee Bucks vs Boston Celtics, Game 5

How to watch/stream Milwaukee Bucks vs Boston Celtics, Game 5

Tune into NBC Sports Boston to watch Game 5 of the opening round of the NBA playoffs, as the Celtics host the Bucks at TD Garden. You can also click here to watch the Celtics livestream presented by Nissan on the NBC Sports App. Coverage begins at 6 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live Presented by ACE Ticket.

- Game preview: C's: Game 5 will come down to 'who wants it more'

- Channel Finder: Make sure you know where to watch

[SHOP: Gear up, Celtics fans!]