The most interesting thing going on in the NBA-verse is Jimmy Butler demanding out of Minnesota, and the Timberwolves, or at least some of the people that run the organization, are keen on granting him his wish.
Butler, a 4-time All-Star who helped the Timberwolves make the postseason for the first time in 14 years, seems to be in high demand, with about a third of the league showing some interest in him. Teams that have been linked to the 7-year veteran: Miami Heat, Los Angeles Clippers, New York Knicks, Brooklyn Nets, Toronto Raptors, Phoenix Suns, Portland Trail Blazers and perhaps others waiting on the sidelines.
Butler seems to be leaning towards joining the Heat, taking a page out of the LeBron James playbook and directing his talent towards South Beach. But does it make sense for Miami to trade for him? Does it make sense for anyone?
Depends on what you give up. With Butler a year away from becoming a free agent, it’s hard to believe that Minnesota will be able to get a franchise-changing bundle for him. With Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns locked down for years to come, NBA-ready players might be a more interesting option for them. Not necessarily stars or starters, but guys who can help them broaden their Thibodeau-famous thin rotation.
Butler is also looking for a max deal: Five years, $190 million (or $155 on an extension he asked from Minnesota). That’s a hefty price to pay for a player that is good, very good when he feels like it, but perhaps has already shown his ceiling as a basketball player: 21-23 points per game, solid-to-great defense when he feels like it, playmaking skills and questionable decision making in the clutch.
If it’s just taking Butler’s contract, it’s not that tough of a pill to swallow, even though he’s a 29-year old with a lot of mileage, playing just 59 games last season because of injuries, and two franchises that have been rocked by his behavior. But adding draft picks to the whole thing? Seems a bit much. Butler is a good player, very good when he wants to, but sacrificing so much for him doesn’t make a lot of sense.
Maybe in the end the move doesn’t happen. While Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor is keen on shipping Butler away, Thibodeau is reportedly still a believer in keeping him on board, even if it’s not something the cornerstone of this franchise for the next few years, Towns, wants. Someone, or maybe more than one, isn’t going to be happy about the outcome once the dust settles.