Jimmy Butler, Isaiah Thomas, Al Horford.
Does that look like a good enough big three to compete with a healthy Cleveland or Dubs? Nobody can convince me that Thomas will be a true net-asset in the Playoffs; he’s going to be targeted mercilessly on D over a series. Nobody can convince me that that trio’s worth giving up this year’s Nets pick and either Crowder’s amazing contract or Jaylen Brown.
I’d much rather see if Chicago would bite on Thomas. Say, Amir Johnson, Isaiah Thomas, Chicago’s pick of two of any of Boston’s many non-Nets future picks, and the rights to a stashed player for Jimmy Butler. Make it three non-Nets picks if that’s what it takes to put Chicago over the edge. Are Chicago going to do much better than that? An All-Star and a glut of assets?
Boston would have a killer small ball unit this year and flexibility going forward. Rather than pay a 5 foot 8 guard the max they could use the Nets pick to select one of Fultz, Ball, or Dennis Smith to take his place on a cheap deal and then go all-in on chasing Gordon Hayward. Butler, Hayward, and Horford does look like an imposing big three, especially when it’s backed up by quality rotation guys like Bradley and Smart, and young studs like Brown and, say, Fultz. Signing Hayward would give Boston the greatest wing depth in the league at a time when that’s never been prized higher and the opportunity to flip Crowder’s amazing contract and lesser assets into a final piece of the puzzle that would let them truly compete next year.