Hot Take Marathon: Jimmy Butler Will Be Traded
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*The NBA offseason is cooling down, but the takes at OTG aren't. This month, we are hitting you with the Hot Take Marathon. Check back every day for a spicy NBA take!*
The Minnesota Timberwolves made the playoffs for the first time since the 2003-04 season and should have every reason in the world to feel optimism about this season. However, team chemistry issues and looming free agent decisions make this season one that seems destined for failure.
The team had success with their core of Jimmy Butler, Andrew Wiggins, and Karl-Anthony Towns maintaining a hold of the number three seed in the Western Conference for most of the season, but an injury to Butler hurt their playoff seeding. With Jimmy Butler, the team was 37-20 and just 10-15 without him.
It is hard to argue that Towns is not a star, but there are some concerns with his defensive ability and also his tendency to play video games. There are even rumors that Butler is not a fan of Towns or Wiggins. Wiggins is due to be paid a lot of money over the next five seasons and they will have to do the same for Towns if they hope to keep him.
Jimmy Butler has a player option for the 2019-2020 season, but I think it is safe to say that he is going to opt out and look for a max deal. This puts the Timberwolves in a very tough spot moving forward. They do not want to lose Karl-Anthony Towns and it would be very difficult to lose Jimmy Butler for nothing.
This leads me to my hot take. Jimmy Butler will be traded during the course of the 2018-19 season. There are a number of teams that would be interested in getting Butler and there are teams that have the assets to make it happen. The biggest speed bump to Butler's potential move would be the fact that he could leave in free agency, so it is likely that they will want Butler to commit to their team.
The Lakers could make an offer to the Timberwolves consisting of some younger players that may not be playing well next to LeBron James. Pairing up Butler with James would be a home run for Magic Johnson and the Lakers' brass.
The Sixers could put together a package including the Kings' 2019 first round pick and possibly Markelle Fultz if things are not working out. Adding Butler to Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid would make the Sixers a Finals contender for sure in the East.
These are just two of the teams that could make a move for Butler and that may be able to secure his services for the future. With a deteriorating situation in Minnesota, a slow start could result in Butler making a push for the Timberwolves to move him with the threat that he would leave in the summer.