The biggest news out of the NBA’s stratosphere is Jimmy Butler requesting a trade from the Minnesota Timberwolves.
This comes as no surprise as Jimmy Butler was reportedly unhappy at the end of last season, and was not gelling with teammates Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins.
According to NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski, Butler prefers three destinations where he wants to end up, the Brooklyn Nets, Los Angeles Clippers, and the New York Knicks.
With all of these teams having max cap space this summer to sign Jimmy Butler once his contract is up, these are his likely destinations. So the question going forward will be…
Where will the veteran wing end up?
All of these teams will have to offer up a good chunk of assets for Jimmy’s talents. The Timberwolves likely will want some guards to go alongside their two franchise cornerstones in Wiggins and Towns. The Brooklyn Nets seem to have the youngest assets with guys like D’Angelo Russell and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, along with veteran De’Mare Carroll.
The problem is that both Russell and Carroll are at the end of their contracts so a renewal would have to be done on the part of Minnesota. The Nets do have their own first-round pick and the Nuggets’ first-round pick in 2019, so a packaged deal with one, two or all of those players, is something Minnesota could be open to doing.
The Clippers could be a great landing spot, with veterans Lou Williams and Tobias Harris being viable trade options.
Williams had the best season of his career last season averaging 22.6 points per game, while Harris averaged 19.3 points a night the most of his career thus far. They really don’t have any picks to offer, so it likely would have to be a package of younger players, and one of these two veteran scorers in order to convince Minnesota.
Lastly, the New York Knicks. This, to me, looks like the most realistic long-term situation for Butler. There are rumors of Kyrie Irving looking to go to the Knicks after he becomes a free agent once this summer, and there have been past reports of Butler and Irving wanting to play together.
Butler could see the Eastern Conference as his best opportunity to make the NBA Finals with LeBron James now on the Los Angeles Lakers, and the Knicks do have assets to give up in players Courtney Lee, Emmanuel Mudiay, and Enes Kanter or Frank Ntilikina.
New York’s brass recently expressed their reluctance to cough up draft picks for players they felt as if they could sign outright in free agency, so we’ll see if they budge on that front now that they know Butler has thumbed them as one of his destinations.
Butler wants to find a realistic destination as to where he can sign a long-term deal. With the number of free agents that will realistically look at the Knicks next year, what the Knicks can give up to Minnesota right now, it seems like it makes the most sense for both sides.
Still, if the cases of Paul George, Kyrie Irving, and Kawhi Leonard have taught us anything, it’s that lists mean little-to-nothing when it comes to dealing star players. Butler can prop the right team up to contender status, and a squad starved for success may be willing to roll the dice to acquire the All-Star.