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Kings could hold key to facilitating Jimmy Butler 3-way deal

Jimmy Butler

The Sacramento Kings could play the role of wingman in a three-way trade situation with the Minnesota Timberwolves, eager to haul in any bloated contracts in return for draft compensation to facilitate the trade of All-Star forward Jimmy Butler, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

The Kings are without their first-round draft pick for 2019, and can now land a future first-rounder and maybe even more as part of a Butler blockbuster trade, in return for their troubles.

Teams like the Brooklyn Nets, L.A. Clippers, and the Miami Heat all have contracts they’re hoping to unload, and dealing Butler could mean pick and cash compensations to take on a veteran player. The Timberwolves have also been looking to shed some contracts of their own, specifically Gorgui Dieng, who is still owed a whopping $47 million during the next three years of his contract ($15.2 million in 2018-19).

Dieng’s career was in the upside for the past two seasons, but it took a crucial fall last season upon the signing of Taj Gibson, going from starting all 82 games in 2016-17 to none last season through 79 appearances, while seeing his minutes take a drastic drop to nearly half of what he had as a starter.

“Assistant GM Brandon Williams has informed teams that the Kings aren’t adverse to parking contracts that extend into the 2019-20 season, including Dieng,” wrote Wojnarowski. “Whatever happens with the Butler deal, the Kings are determined to use that $11 million in cap space and their expiring contracts to gather more assets for the future.”

The Timberwolves are getting plenty of assistance when it comes to moving Butler, but only time will tell if they’re okay with losing a little to move on from their franchise star, holding little to no leverage in this trade situation. The Kings are in the favorable spot of being willing to take picks and cash, given that the Minnesota brass will prefer ready-made pieces to help bring the Timberwolves to the playoffs once more.