• After failing to move up in the lottery Boston has been in the center of speculation for several weeks, as the number three spot has become a pressure point in tomorrow night’s draft.  The Celtics will bring eight picks into the 2016 draft, and have made it abundantly obvious that they are looking to package some of them in exchange for current star. ESPN’s Marc Stein is reporting, however, that the organization has been repeatedly “rebuffed” in their attempts to trade the No. 3 pick for an established veteran.

    The Celtics have been linked to a number of players across the association, most notable Jimmy Butler and Kevin Love.  Coming off a championship season it’s difficult to speculate on what Cleveland intends to do with Love.  He struggled in the Finals prior to Game 7, but was a key cog in the machine that ripped through the East during the regular season.  As recently as yesterday LeBron was quoted as saying he hopes to continue playing with Love in Cleveland, but it’s hard to put too much stock in public exclamations of affection.

    As for Butler, Stein explains: “The Bulls, sources say, continue to show little interest in dealing Butler to the Celtics, who previously tried to trade for him before the league’s annual deadline in February.”  Essentially, the Bulls have every reason to iron things out with Butler rather than cut bait this offseason.  He’s an all-star who is under contract and just now entering his prime.  In short, Butler already is the player that Boston can only dream the No. 3 pick may some day become.

    Boston has also approached Utah and Milwaukee in an effort to try and find a deal for Gordon Hayward, Jabari Parker or Khris Middleton only to be met with similar resistance.  Utah is insistent (both to Boston and to other suiters, including Phoenix) that Hayward is not available, and Stein writes, “The same, sources say, goes for Parker and Middleton in Milwaukee, since the Bucks regard both of those young cornerstones, as well as Giannis Antetokounmpo, as untouchables.”

    The Celtics have also been linked to Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor, and apparently there have been initial talks between the Celtics and the Sixers, but nothing is imminent.

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