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Stephen A. Smith: Celtics plan to acquire Jimmy Butler and Gordon Hayward

Alex Reimer
June 19, 2017 - 11:40 am

The Celtics traded the No. 1 overall pick to the 76ers to win now, according to Stephen A. Smith. 

The "First Take" host said Monday he's spoken to sources around the league who say the Bulls were willing to unload Jimmy Butler in exchange for the No. 3 pick, which was previously in Philadelphia's possession. But with a young nucleus beginning to develop –– Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, most notably –– the 76ers apparently weren't interested in bringing Butler aboard. Instead, Smith says they were focused on obtaining the No. 1 selection. The Celtics were more than willing to oblige. 

With the Celtics now owning the No. 3 pick, and potentially three first-round picks in 2018, they have the capital to make a run at Butler. Smith says that's exactly what they plan to do. In addition, Smith says he expects the Celtics to attempt to sign Gordon Hayward in free agency. 

"They don’t know if they’ll be able to, but their hope is that 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, he explained. "Keeping Isaiah Thomas, Marcus Smart, Avery Bradley and those boys in toe, and making a legitimate run at the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Eastern Conference crown." 

If the Celtics land both Butler and Hayward, they would likely be the surefire No. 2 team in the East next season. They would also probably still be able to keep some cards for the future, given their abundance of draft picks. 

Three years ago, Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck promised fans there would be "fireworks" that summer. It looks he may finally live up to his word. 

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