Report: Celtics Were Concerned with How Gordon Hayward, Jimmy Butler Would Mesh

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistAugust 30, 2017

SALT LAKE CITY, UT - FEBRUARY 1: Jimmy Butler #21 of the Chicago Bulls drives to the basket during the game against Gordon Hayward #20 of the Utah Jazz on February 1, 2016 at EnergySolutions Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2016 NBAE (Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images)
Melissa Majchrzak/Getty Images

ESPN.com's Zach Lowe reported Wednesday that the Boston Celtics' decision to not pursue Jimmy Butler in a trade with the Chicago Bulls stemmed from concerns regarding how he would fit with the team.

Specifically, Lowe wrote Boston was uncertain if Butler would mesh with free-agent acquisition Gordon Hayward on the court and from a personality perspective.

The Celtics were long linked to Butler, especially leading up to the 2017 NBA draft.

When Boston failed to pull the trigger on a deal, however, the Minnesota Timberwolves swooped in and acquired Butler for Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn and a first-round pick that turned out to be Lauri Markkanen.

The Celtics hadn't yet signed Hayward at the time of that trade, but it was widely expected they would be major players for the former Utah Jazz star's services since C's head coach Brad Stevens coached Hayward at Butler.

Hayward and Butler have many similarities as two-way players who have gradually improved throughout their respective careers and developed into All-Stars.

While it would have been interesting to see what Stevens could have done with two versatile weapons on the wing, the Celtics instead addressed a need in their backcourt.

Although the deal has yet to be made official due to concerns regarding Isaiah Thomas' hip, Boston traded Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and the Brooklyn Nets' unprotected 2018 first-round pick to the Cleveland Cavaliers for guard Kyrie Irving.

Provided that deal goes through, the Celtics will have a core consisting of Irving, Hayward, Al Horford, rookie Jayson Tatum and other promising pieces.

For as much as Butler has grown in recent years, Irving is a former NBA champion with a skill set the Celtics lacked, perhaps making him a better fit for Boston.