Could Jimmy Butler and Kyrie Irving Team Up?
With all the star power residing in the Western Conference, it’s been rumored that Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving and Minnesota Timberwolves guard Jimmy Butler want to team up in the Eastern Conference. It’s no secret that the two are great friends and after collaborating on the 2016 USA Olympic team, reports have come out from Chicago Sun Times and Zach Lowe that the two stars are “still trying to figure out a way to play together.” Both are free agents after the 2019 NBA season.
Butler was recently on record saying he was “sick of the nonchalant attitude of his younger Minnesota teammates.” He will be 29 by the start of next season and likely wants to compete for a title. Even as they continue to build, the Timberwolves are not in the position to win yet, and Butler is not interested in waiting around for the franchise, especially in the West. Kyrie Irving has not said much about his future regarding free agency and if these two really want to play with each other there are a few scenarios that would make this possible.
If they were to team up this would be the most likely option. Irving could re-sign or opt in with the Celtics and then Butler can sign with Boston. If Celtics’ General Manager Danny Ainge wants Jimmy “Buckets” on the team he will clear the cap space needed to make room for him on the roster. Boston is already in contention for a title and they have plenty of ways to make a powerhouse lineup involving Butler and Irving.
New York Knicks
Kyrie Irving has already said he would want to play with the Knicks because he grew up in the area. The Knicks have been lining themselves up to make a run at the top notch free agents that will become available after next season and if Kyrie wants to go there, it’s likely Butler would be willing to join him. The Knicks’ market is one of the most desirable in the league and Butler wouldn’t be quick to turn down a chance to play there with Irving. Like the Celtics, the Knicks would have to make moves to clear up some cap-space.
While the Nets aren’t exactly a target team for free agents, they will have the cap space for two max-contracts next summer after trading away Timofey Mozgov's massive contract this summer. Jason Mcintyre was recently on The Herd with Colin Cowherd and stated that “Kyrie Irving and Jimmy Butler to Brooklyn next summer is going to be in play.” Brooklyn has been rebuilding for three years now, and it is yet to be seen if a big star will sign there. But there’s room for both of them and it’s obvious that with the backcourt of Irving and Butler in the weaker Eastern Conference, the Brooklyn Nets could be representing the East in the NBA Finals after next season.