As NBA Training Camps are set to begin within the next week, the dog days of the NBA offseason were shaken up when Shams Charania of The Athletic reported that Jimmy Butler requested a trade from the Minnesota Timberwolves, giving them a list of 1-3 teams he’d want to be traded to. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN then released Butler’s list shortly after.
Minnesota's Jimmy Butler has three preferred destinations for a trade, league sources tell ESPN: The Brooklyn Nets, Los Angeles Clippers and New York Knicks. Those three teams have max cap space to sign Butler as a free agent in July.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) September 19, 2018
I expect Jimmy Butler to be traded by the time the NBA season starts on Tuesday, October 16th. Here’s five potential Jimmy Butler trades that I could see happening.
1. Brooklyn Nets
Nets Receive: Jimmy Butler
Timberwolves Receive: Spencer Dinwiddie, Allen Crabbe, 2019 First Round Pick (via Denver), 2020 Second Round Pick
Outlook: I’m not sure if I can see the Nets parting ways with D’Angelo Russell in order to land Jimmy Butler, but they do have some other valuable pieces such as Spencer Dinwiddie (12.6 PPG, 6.6 APG in 2017-18), and Denver’s 2019 first round pick that they got in the trade for Kenneth Faried. The Nets will have room for two max contracts in the 2019 offseason, and that would allow them to sign Jimmy Butler to a max extension.
2. Los Angeles Clippers
Clippers Receive: Jimmy Butler
Timberwolves Receive: Tobias Harris, Jerome Robinson, 2019 second round pick
Outlook: I don’t think the Clippers would make a deal like this, as they’ve done a really good job of getting younger while still staying competitive. Tobias Harris is the best player on the Clippers right now, but he’s expected to test the free agent market next summer, so it may be time for the Clippers to look ahead. If they’re looking at someone better than Harris during the 2019 offseason, then the move could be to trade for Jimmy Butler, who’d likely sign an extension with the Clippers. The Clippers would also send 13th overall pick Jerome Robinson to Minnesota and a second round pick as part of the trade.
3. New York Knicks
Knicks Receive: Jimmy Butler
Timberwolves Receive: Frank Ntilikina, Enes Kanter, 2020 first round pick, 2019 second round pick
Outlook: The Knicks seem committed to not blowing up their rebuild, but you never know with them. In this scenario, they give away Frank Ntilikina, who they drafted #8 overall in 2017, and Enes Kanter. They also have to give away a 2020 first round pick, which I’m not sure they’d trade, but Kanter isn’t much of an asset right now, so they’d need to up the offer a bit from just Ntilikina, Kanter, and a second round pick.
4. Portland Trail Blazers
Trail Blazers Receive: Jimmy Butler
Minnesota Timberwolves Receive: Zach Collins, Evan Turner, 2019 first round Pick, 2021 second round pick
Outlook: The Trail Blazers better start adding some pieces to what they have, or they aren’t going to be more than a middle of the pack team in the Western Conference. Why not go for it all and add another star to the mix? Portland would have to give up young big, Zach Collins and a first round pick, but it may be worth it if they can convince Butler to stay in Portland beyond 2018-19, and maneuver the cap to make it work. Portland is my dark horse team to land Jimmy Butler.
5. Philadelphia 76ers
76ers Receive: Jimmy Butler
Minnesota Timberwolves Receive: Dario Saric, Zhaire Smith, Wilson Chandler
Outlook: The 76ers are definitely a long shot to get Jimmy Butler, but they have the pieces to get it done. The Timberwolves would get two young studs in Saric and Smith, while the 76ers would make themselves the favorites to come out of the Eastern Conference. It’s certainly interesting to think about.