It has just been reported by Adrian Wojnarowski that All-star small-forward Jimmy Butler has requested a trade out of Minnesota. This comes after an incredibly disappointing season with the Timberwolves, where they not only lost in the first round of the playoffs, but also barely made them in the first place by finishing 8th in the Western Conference. According to sources, the three teams that have been on Butler’s list of preferred destinations are the Brooklyn Nets, the LA Clippers, and the New York Knicks. While it has also been reported that head coach Tom Thibodeau tried to reconcile with Butler and convince his star to stay, Butler made it clear that he has no desire to remain with the franchise. Despite this, Butler still has two more years left on his contract before he is allowed to leave to another franchise in Free Agency.
It has been done before where a major NBA star requests for a trade and the team simply ignores the requests and continues to compete. This most famously worked with Kobe Bryant, who at one point demanded a trade in 2007, but the Lakers simply ignored his request and simply surrounded him with talent. Yet, if Minnesota is unwilling to take the risk there is no better opportunity than now to start calling to see what teams are willing to offer up players and picks for Jimmy Butler. The season is less than a month away, and many teams might be willing to offer multiple assets to have an opportunity to compete in the upper echelon of the NBA elites. Especially since Jimmy Butler is guaranteed for two years on his existing deal, it gives teams a chance to experiment with the all-star for a year and if things don’t work out as expected, they still have another year to trade Butler again to recover some of their lost assets.
Overall from the teams that he listed, the clear favorite would be joining the Knicks. With Jimmy Butler and Kristaps Porzingis on the same team, they would instantly become one of the better defensive teams in the league. The issue is that New York has relatively few assets that they would be willing to trade away to be able to bring in a star like Jimmy Butler. Two other very interesting options are also the LA Lakers and the Boston Celtics. While both teams already have the small forward position locked, they both have the necessary assets to to make this trade happen. Furthermore, the addition of Jimmy Butler would essentially make both those teams into legitimate championship contenders. Imagine Jimmy Butler along side LeBron James. That tandem would simply dominate teams and would be reminiscent of LeBron’s early years with Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami.
If Butler went to the Boston Celtics, the starting line-up would be Kyrie Irving, Butler, Jayson Tatum, Gordon Hayward, and Al Horford. The different things that Coach Brad Stevens could set-up offensively with that line-up are simply ridiculous- and that team could compete with the Golden State Warriors. Yet, all of the scenarios are hypotheticals, and all that is known is that Jimmy Butler is ready to move on from the Minnesota Timberwolves.
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