Jimmy Butler to the Knicks, Nets, or Clips?
After Jimmy Butler dispelled false reports of a meeting with the Wolves brass on Tuesday, he did meet with coach Tom Thibodeau on Wednesday in Los Angeles to request a trade as reported by Shams Charania and Jon Krawcynski. Butler let it be known that the New York Knicks, Brooklyn Nets, and Los Angeles Clippers are the three teams he would be willing to resign with if traded to. All three are in large markets as Butler undoubtedly looks to expand his brand and marketability as none currently represent a winning situation.
A growing rift has overshadowed Butler’s time in Minny after he was traded for Kris Dunn, Zach Lavine, and the first round pick that became Lauri Markkanen. The vision of Butler joining with Karl Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins to form a big three failed to materialize with a lack of cohesion on and off the court. Butler, 29, is coming off an All Star and 3rd Team All NBA season where he averaged 22 points, 5 boards, and 5 assists on 47 percent shooting while providing top tier defense on the wing. After barely making the 8th seed over the Nuggets on a last day play in the Wolves were bounced out of the first round in five games by the Houston Rockets.
New York Knicks
Courtney Lee, Lance Thomas, Frankie Smokes and a 2020 first round pick for Jimmy Butler and Tyus Jones
The Wolves will ask for Kevin Knox and promptly be hung up on. Calling back with the knowledge in mind that Jimmy just murdered his trade value they’ll ask for a package centered around Frank Ntilikina and a first rounder. Thomas and Lee are thrown in to make the salaries work, with Lee probably stepping into Butler’s starting role. With Jeff Teague and Derrick Rose already on the roster the Wolves would be willing to part with Jones to open up playing time for Ntilikina.
Allen Crabbe and Rondae Hollis Jefferson for Jimmy Butler
It's possible the Nets might be willing to part with the Denver Nuggets 1st round pick they acquired in the Kenneth Faried salary dump but could also be less interested in Butler than expected. Between the recurrent knee injuries, ball stopping style of play, and having to sign him to lengthy expensive contract on the wrong side of 30 will give plenty of pause to an intelligent GM like Sean Marks. Can’t read minds, but if the Nets were inclined make a deal they definitely have the best assets to do so out of these three. I can see a scenario where they take the wait and see approach on how Jimmy bounces back this season and make a move near deadline. Neither is there a guarantee that Butler will love his new situation if he is traded, so the Nets could be best served by waiting until the offseason when they can open up two slots for max contracts.
Los Angeles Clippers
Tobias Harris, Patrick Beverley, 2019 2nd round pick, and a 2020 second round pick for Jimmy Butler
They may ask for one of the rookie guards instead of Beverly but I think the Wolves will want to remain competitive this season since there is no plausible way of tanking with a healthy Towns on your roster. The Wolves not being a very deep team would welcome two starting caliber rotation players to their squad. Harris can replace some of Butlers’ offensive output while Beverly is only a tier below him defensively. You will never get full return value when trading a star. The Clippers would acquire a recognizable star to help them stay relevant as Lebron James and the Lakers garble up the media coverage and attention.