Intrepid ESPN Reporter and longtime inside source close to LeBron James, Brian Windhorst was on The Lowe Post podcast recently and gave an interesting peek into the defending champs state of mind heading into the trade deadline last week.
While discussing the eastern conference contenders after the deadline and how the Cavaliers appear to have a little tougher road to the NBA Finals than they have the previous two seasons with better contenders and the uncertainty surrounding Kevin Love’s injury, he gave away an interesting tidbit on their close monitoring of the Paul George and Jimmy Butler trade drama.
“The Cavs were on pins and needles yesterday, about the Celtics getting Paul George or Jimmy Butler, pins and needless” Windhorst said during the podcast.
He went on to discuss the Cavs opinion of Jimmy Butler as compared to potential Celtics off-season target in free agency, Gordon Hayward.
“Let’s put it this way, if on day one next year, if it’s Gordon Hayward, Al Horford and Isaiah Thomas, the Cavs we’ll be like okay that is going to be a challenge. If it’s Isaiah Thomas, Al Horford and Jimmy Butler, the Cavs may say we need to trade Kevin Love.”
Those are some pretty explosive words from Windhorst and gives a behind the curtain look at how the Cavaliers organization views some of the better wing players in the league and who they view as the biggest threat or what combination of potential players they fear the most.
It’s clear that Butler is a slightly better offensive weapon than Hayward. His toughness, grit, ability to defend and be a go-to scorer are pretty scary if surrounded by the rest of Boston’s talent. He would make Boston that much more of an athletic team and Kevin Love more of a liability.
I realize Danny Ainge is in the driver’s seat at the moment with his king’s ransom of assets and he is trying to protect Boston’s future as well as their current standing in the NBA as a top eight team in the league, but if Jimmy Butler was on the table for a package centered around Brooklyn’s 2017 pick and Jaylen Brown, (although rumors say they were demanding Jae Crowder in any deal) I think this would have been a great time for Boston to cash in and do it.
Let’s see if this situation progresses in the off-season and how Cleveland will respond, whether they are hanging another championship banner or not going into next season.