When examining the trade market for Minnesota Timberwolves star Jimmy Butler, some think he might make the most sense on a contending team.
Dan Woike recently spoke to Chris Mannix about what he believes the trade market looks like for Butler (via Yahoo Sports):
“In some ways, he’s almost more attractive to me as a rental for a team like if Houston can figure something out or a team like Philadelphia. To me [with] those teams, he may even make more sense in that ‘we’re going to have you here for a year and we’re going to try to win a title and then we’re not going to give you that max’ than he does for a team that’s looking at him as ‘we’re going to want this guy to be the face of our franchise for the next five years.'”
Butler reportedly would be willing to re-sign a long-term contract with the Los Angeles Clippers, Brooklyn Nets and the New York Knicks. Earlier in the podcast, however, Mannix mentioned that he has heard that Minnesota is not looking at the list of three teams that Butler desires. Instead, the team prefers the best overall deal and are not trying to appease the four-time All-Star.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Miami Heat were most aggressive in their attempt to trade for Butler. But The Athletic’s Jon Krawczynski noted that the Brooklyn Nets, Houston Rockets, Philadelphia 76ers, Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Clippers were all still possible trade partners as well.
As noted earlier by Woike, the Rockets and Sixers stand out in this group even if they’re sacrificing assets for a one-year stint with the disgruntled star. Houston nearly defeated the Golden State Warriors last year in the Western Conference Finals before an injury to Chris Paul.
If they added Butler on the wing, they’d add to a starting lineup that already boasted enough firepower to compete with any team in the league. The Rockets could offer Eric Gordon, although would need to add more salary filler (e.g. PJ Tucker) to fit within the CBA. Daryl Morey will assuredly be interested in pushing his team closer to a title.
Philadelphia would have a similar draw to Butler, likely sending Robert Covington and perhaps Wilson Chandler as well as a first-round pick to the Timberwolves in such a trade.
Here is what Zach Lowe said about why this could make sense (via ESPN):
“If he wants to win, this is the spot: in the East, with two blossoming superstars. Philly is running out of time to add a third star, though given their trove of trade assets — including Chicago’s 2019 second-rounder and Miami’s unprotected 2021 first-round pick.”
Now that LeBron James is no longer in the Eastern Conference, the core of Joel Embiid with Ben Simmons is even more intimidating. If they added a player like Butler, it would be an even bigger push for the No. 1 seed in the East.
There are several other teams potentially interested in pursuing Butler to help push them towards contention. One team that immediately comes to mind is the Milwaukee Bucks. Lowe has reported that Milwaukee placed a call and expressed interest.
From a cap perspective, the most logical players to include would either be Khris Middleton or Eric Bledsoe.
The Action Network’s Matt Moore suggested the Bucks include Thon Maker in such a deal. USA TODAY’s Jeff Zillgitt added that there is a “lesser chance” that Milwaukee lands Butler but a trade is not out of the question.
It’s unlikely that the Bucks offer Middleton but if they could swing for a deal without sacrificing the wing, this is another interesting destination that might jump for a deal. Gordon, Covington and Bledsoe could all start and help the team contend alongside Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns if the Timberwolves want to make the postseason again next year.
DunkWire, Chris Paul, Eric Bledsoe, Eric Gordon, Jimmy Butler, Khris Middleton, PJ Tucker, Robert Covington, Thon Maker, Wilson Chandler, Houston Rockets, Milwaukee Bucks, Minnesota Timberwolves, Philadelphia 76ers