With all the buzz and headlines around the Jimmy Butler trade rumors, whoever nabs the four-time All-star will definitely get one of the best two-way players in the league. The 30th overall pick of the 2011 NBA draft, He has certainly played above and beyond his draft billing.
There was a time that the two-time NBA selection was never thought of as a franchise-altering piece. He was thought of a serviceable rotation player at best and for his first two seasons in the league that actually seemed true.
Despite the situation on the team, Butler was not the type to settle. Through labor and dedication to his craft, eventually, it paid off. With the fallout of Derrick Rose’s knees, it was clear that the Bulls point guard will never be the same. This paved the way for Butler’s star to shine brighter than ever and rise above the situation.
He took advantage of the situation and proved to the rest of the league that stardom is not just about being born with immense talent, but being one of the best through perseverance and hard work.
Here we are once again, a witness to another Butler milestone. From somebody to All-star, now a franchise changer wherever he goes, through his work ethic and daily grind, he now holds his future in his hands. Despite his on-court success, it did not mask his displeasure with his current team, especially the younger Wolves.
Butler reciprocated by allegedly providing the Wolves with a list of three teams that he would be willing to resign with. His preferred destinations are the Brooklyn Nets, Los Angeles Clippers, and the New York Knicks.
With the assets those teams have amassed, here are three realistic trades to acquire the All-star wingman.
For the Nets, hearing their name preferred by a player of Jimmy Butler’s caliber, it must be sweet music to their ears. Especially for a franchise that was mired in failed decisions of the past, things are looking up for the rebuilding franchise.
With expiring contracts, rehabilitating lottery talent, and draft picks, the Nets can surely come up with a package that could see Butler in Brooklyn.
The Nets could realistically send Allen Crabbe, D’Angelo Russell, a 2019 first rounder from the Nuggets, and a 2019 second rounder from New York for Jimmy Butler and Tyus Jones.
Allen Crabbe has the talent to be a complementary scorer and an expiring contract if things do not pan out. The 26-year-old Nets shooting guard is an interesting enough piece to gauge if he fits the Nets’ plans future moving forward. On the other hand, D’Angelo Russell is similarly on the same boat. Just with a higher ceiling and a younger age, he has shown flashes of brilliance throughout his career.
With injuries putting his career on hold, A breakout season is due for the former 2nd overall pick. However, they can hold on to Russell and give him a handsome payday or cut him loose and make him walk during next summer’s free agency.
The two picks are desirable enough to be included. The Denver first rounder gets an anticipated lower placement in the first round due to being one of the better teams in the West, while the New York second rounder is the wildcard in the mix. The Nets have no reason to part with their own pick knowing it could go higher in the draft even if Butler joins the team they will be a long shot from contenders. The Wolves can’t pressure them knowing Butler can just walk in free agency.
Why is Tyus Jones in this? Unknown to most, buried in Wolves head coach Tom Thibodeau’s bench is this gem of a player. In a sample size, Jones has performed admirably in the absence of Jeff Teague due to injury. Whenever he plays, he has proven to be one of the most productive players on the court with his plus-minus. There was a point in the season he was top 10 in real plus-minus with 4.43.
With the loss of a guard in Russell, acquiring Jones and giving him a greater role in the Nets scheme might actually make him spread his wings more instead of being in a veteran-centric team in the Timberwolves.
To sum it up, the Nets get their long-awaited All-star along with a quality point guard for two starting pieces at best who could be complementary pieces in the long run, with two possibly significant picks that will have an erratic placement in the draft. Both get set for the future, with the Brooklyn Nets getting ready to compete a little sooner rather than later.
New York Knicks
Who would not want to be in New York? A larger than life city and an even bigger market to play in, this is the dream playground of any basketball player, home of the mecca of basketball.
In contrast, the Knicks have been one of the worst teams when it comes to decision making. From Isiah Thomas coming into power, clearing the cupboards and all for Carmelo Anthony, and hiring the Zen Master Phil Jackson, decisions seem to blow up in their face one after the other.
Despite their history and miserable past decisions, the Knicks are slowly trying to get things right under the watch of Knicks president Steve Mills. With the development of franchise unicorn Kristaps Porzingis and the recent draft of promising rookie Kevin Knox, things are slowly looking up for the floundering franchise.
As much as the services of Jimmy Butler are concerned, the Knicks are determined to not sacrifice assets like they have done before in acquiring high profile names like his. For someone who they can possibly get next summer, it seems that the New York franchise will stand pat on the Butler trade.
However, the Knicks won’t be the Knicks at all without any attempt on a flamboyant risky trade that could bring them notches ahead into relevance in the league. With that being stated, a reasonable trade package from the Knicks of Tim Hardaway Jr, Lance Thomas, Courtney Lee, and Kevin Knox for Timberwolves Jimmy Butler, Gorgui Dieng, and Anthony Tolliver.
With the roster that the Wolves have put in, the clear direction is to get another run in the playoffs. Even when moving Butler, it does not seem like it would change what so ever. Nice serviceable pieces in Hardaway Jr, Thomas, and Lee add to their rotation quality pieces who can impact and contribute right away.
With the Wolves being one of the lowly teams in the three-point department, Hardaway Jr’s long-range scoring acumen will be valued with the likes of Karl Anthony-Towns or Andrew Wiggins kicking out for those corner threes. While they get a switchable forward piece in Thomas who can guard any wing to occasionally guarding big men.
Armed with a reliable three-point shot when needed, spacing the floor would not be a problem with him on the court. Lastly, one of the last old-school three-and-Ds in the league, Lee can stay on the opposing team’s best player while getting the long ball going.
These three pieces are integral to a team who ranked one of the worse in defense. Individually they might not be classified as elite stoppers, but in a defensive system that would maximize their talents, they could shine on defense.
Kevin Knox might be the gut-wrenching piece to part with. Showing an amazing display during summer league, there is a lot of promise from the Wildcat alum. Despite the talent and skill of the young rookie, there is still value in being a tried and tested All-star in his prime. In exchange, the Wolves get a young promising undeveloped talent in Knox, who could be an All-star in the future,
How will taking in Butler, Dieng, and Tolliver be beneficial for the Knicks future? Butler is certainly the crown of this package but getting a quality big man like Gorgui Dieng is hard to come by in the league. One of the forgotten ones in the Minnesota bench, Dieng was actually doing good during the 2015-17 seasons. In those two seasons, he has averaged 10 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 1.8 assists, 1.1 steals, and 1.2 blocks per game.
Why he does not get more minutes is beyond me but with flashes of three-point shooting, faceup scoring, and more than decent enough defense to play in today’s league, it is nearly impossible for the Knicks to miss a flier on him. Imagine a rangy defensive frontcourt of Porzingis and Dieng, it is too nice to pass up even with Enes Kanter already in tow with the Knicks.
Moreover, Anthony Tolliver is one of those pieces that are extremely valuable in today’s game. He used to be a tweener in the league, which made him difficult to gauge talent-wise. Not too strong to be a banger, not much of a scorer to be a threat, not the quickest or the fastest in the court, nor not much of a shooter during the early days of his career, and not a defensive stopper, he was an odd piece to have.
Times have changed for Tolliver as he retooled how he plays on the court, he has transformed into one of the most accurate stretch big men in the league. From the 2014-2018 season, he has averaged a near 40 percent clip from the three-point line. A team in need of a body to throw on defense or in need of some outside sniping, he is your man. For a team that lost utility guy Lance Thomas, adding Anthony Tolliver is a good piece as his replacement.
The number of moving pieces might have a bit of difficulty moving forward. Waiting on Tolliver’s restrictions upon signing a contract may also play a factor, but if both teams are patient enough to roll the dice on this deal it may end in fruition on both ends.
Los Angeles Clippers
Everybody either loves or hates the Hollywood franchises. With LeBron James’ recent migration to the Lakers, most players would rather go to the other Los Angeles club and make a name for themselves nowadays.
The Clippers had a simple plan heading into this season till next summer, be the team with the most cash to spend in free agency. In that direction, the Clippers are ready to pay for two high profile talents in free agency 2019 which will be headlined by high profile names like Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, and Kyrie Irving.
Butler can choose to be part of that pool. If the Clippers acquire him via trade before or in the middle of the season, getting a contract extension will be inevitable. Trading for the Wolves All-star as soon as possible puts both in a desirable position.
It secures Butler’s contract while it gives the Clippers one of the two high profile free agents they have been looking to sign. Avoiding an all-out bid war with one of the potential stars available, they can now focus their attention and resources into getting that second one since Butler is already on board.
The Clippers can come up with a trade package that would send Tobias Harris, Patrick Beverley, and Rookie Shai Gilgeous – Alexander for the Jimmy Butler.
Losing a player with the two-way prowess of Jimmy Butler will definitely leave a void in the playoff aspirations of the Wolves. While getting Tobias Harris may not exactly be the answer to fill that gap, he has developed into a capable scorer that can make up the offensive lack that Butler once filled.
Defensive point guard Patrick Beverley will always be a welcome addition to any team with his tenacious defense and the ability to knock the deep ball. Rookie scoring guard Shai Gilgeous – Alexander has the potential to be their point guard of the future but buried within a sea of other guards in Jeff Teague, Tyus Jones, and Derrick Rose he will need to make the most of the opportunities given to him in order to carve out a piece of the rotation minutes.
Jimmy Butler’s future
Most of the executives have grown smarter and patient with rebuilding their franchises, following a template that the Sixers have recently sensationalized with The Process. It is notable that the probability of including picks will be unlikely, due to knowing that Butler may be a free agent next summer.
Although one thing is for sure, adding a 29-year-old elite talent that can affect both aspects of the game will definitely boost your status notches higher immediately. That is just how good Jimmy Butler turned out to be.
Butler’s intentions are unclear as of the moment, whether it be the payday, a shot at an NBA championship, his own team, or simply just escaping the Wolves dysfunction, he already has his foot out the door. There is a possibility that things can simmer down to give it another shot, but with the things are going it is too early to even consider it on the table.
Worth will always be the question in play in any decision surrounding trading for an All-star. Will everything be worth it in the end?
Similar to the situation of Kawhi Leonard and the Raptors, Butler may find himself playing for the least desirable destination for him, a high risk and high reward exchange that may totally alter the NBA landscape.
In any case, in a league driven by players, talent, and influence, no matter how much you try to pull the strings on the outcome of things, uncertainty is the only thing constant.
As the matter is far from working itself out, Jimmy Butler and the Wolves are on the clock.