Jimmy Butler is one of the best players in the NBA. He is also one of the most frustrated players in the NBA. As things currently stand, Butler is still playing for the Minnesota Timberwolves, but if he had his way, he would be gone.
Butler isn’t satisfied with the Timberwolves, especially their young stars Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins. At this point, it seems like a matter of “when” and not “if” he is no longer a member of the team. Trade talks were hot at one point, with the Miami Heat, Houston Rockets among teams mentioned as potential suitors. The Rockets were the team mentioned the most at first, but they could not get a deal done.
Talks died down for a second, but the Houston Rockets decided they would make one more run at it. The Rockets are now reportedly offering four first-round picks along with injured Rockets players Marquese Chriss and Brandon Knight for Butler.
The Rockets were one win away from beating the Warriors last season when Chris Paul got hurt and the team faded along with his injury. This season they were looking to build on that success and potentially topple the Warriors and they added Carmelo Anthony at a discount price after he was waived by the Hawks via their trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Unfortunately, their cap situation did not bode well for them keeping two key wing defenders, Luc Mbah A Moute (Los Angeles Clippers) and Trevor Ariza (Phoenix Suns). In acquiring Jimmy Butler, the Rockets get an elite defensive wing that can help them immediately defensively, as the Rockets are giving up 115 points per game and allowing opponents to shoot 48.2% from the field.
Butler also gives them a better perimeter guy to match up against the likes of Lebron James and Kevin Durant.
One question mark will be the about how does Jimmy Butler fit in offensively? The primary ballhandlers for the Rockets were Chris Paul and James Harden last season. And if either one of them wasn’t handling the basketball, Eric Gordon was handling the ball. This season, the Rockets have shown more of the same and if Butler comes to town, he surely will want his chances to play isolation basketball.
Jimmy will not get the same amount of isolations he has gotten over the last few seasons, but he will be the third person in line to handle the ball. The good thing is his defensive presence and his ability to shoot will more than likely still show his value to this team.
Another good thing when it comes to Butler is he shoots the three-pointer at a 33.9% clip for his career. With Paul and Harden handling the ball more than he will, he is more than capable of knocking down spot-up three-pointers.
The other question mark on the court is his attitude. Plenty have talked about the issues he has had with teammates over his career and no one will forget the famous blow up he had at practice this season. Because of some of his darker moments, there have been some fans that think he is a cancer.
The labeling of Jimmy Butler as a cancer couldn’t be further from the truth. The biggest thing about Jimmy Butler is he is a fierce competitor and when he sees someone not doing the same, it makes him feel a certain way. In Minnesota, he feels that way about the duo of Towns and Wiggins because both do not show consistent levels of competitive play.
With the Rockets, he would surely get that from Chris Paul and although Harden’s defense leaves some things to be desired, he still goes out and plays hard every night. The will to win and the desire to do what it takes to win is stronger with the star players in Houston than it is in Minnesota.
As far as the collection of first-round picks, there have been some fans who think the Rockets are killing their franchise for a guy that could leave them after one season. The reality of Butler leaving after one season is true, but the killing of the Rockets franchise by trading four first-round picks is a little bit overexaggerated.
The two stars on the Rockets team right now, Harden and Paul, were traded for. And if you look at the last few years of the Rockets franchise, notice they really don’t value first-round picks anyways in the building of their teams. The only one that has had an impact on their team that they drafted is center Clint Capela.
While many are freaking out about Houston offering that type of package, the reality is the Rockets are not really giving up much at all.
The Rockets need a change and Jimmy Butler would be a welcomed change for that team. They have made the offer and now the Minnesota Timberwolves have to answer. The Rockets are looking to win right now and not in the future, so adding Butler to the mix for the price they are trying to get him at makes a bunch of sense. And when you’re trying to win championships every season, you do what you have to do in order to stay in the arms race.