What a day. The winds of the NBA rumor mill were pointing us in this direction all week, but it is still hard to believe that we are here. Jimmy Butler has officially requested a trade from the Minnesota Timberwolves. We will have all year to place blame for the current situation (although some of those actors could very possibly not be involved with the Timberwolves for the entire season), but for now we get to do what Timberwolves fans do best, rampant trade speculation. After all, if your team is always rebuilding, there is nowhere else to go but to tear it all down again. Nihilism becomes us.
Jimmy Butler has reportedly given the Wolves a list of three teams that he wants to be traded to (although this has been refuted by his agent on twitter).
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
This implies that Butler is most concerned about being given a max deal, which he likely would have received in Minnesota. For someone who publicly espouses winning so much, these teams are noted stalwarts of recent success as they finished a combined squinting 99-147 last season. The allure of the big markets is something.
So us mortals to do but the little that we can, which is fire up the trade machine.
Here we go.
The Nets have been slowly accumulating assets as they await the infamous Billy King trade to Boston to unwind. Their MO has been hoarding cap space and utilizing it to pry the contract albatrosses from other teams with draft picks or young players to sweeten the deal. They are set up to have a boatload of cap space next year, as well as their own first round draft pick for the first time in what I believe has been 68 years. What can they offer the Wolves?
DeMarre Carroll, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and a 2019 first round pick for Jimmy Butler
In RHJ the Wolves get a solid prospect at small forward, a likely mid-tier first round pick, and an expiring contract in Carroll who can be a useful player this year.
Survey Says - This trade is plausible, but certainly unsexy. RHJ looks to be a solid defensive wing, but has does not have a high ceiling. The Nets have a few other decent young players in Caris LeVert and D’Angelo Russell, but no one that really has potential to be anything other than consistent starters.
However, if the Wolves can use this opportunity to dump Gorgui Dieng’s contract, perhaps by adding Dieng and Kenneth Faried to the trade, this becomes slightly more enticing as now the Wolves would be well set-up for the future with our favorite player, cap space.
What better place for Jimmy to play other than with the lesser LA team so he can focus on antagonizing LeBron over whose town it is for the next five years.
LA is already in a full pivot, having blown up their core of Chris Paul, Blake Griffen, and DeAndre Jordan in the last two years. All that is left is the NBA’s equivalent of the island of misfit toys, non-Miami edition. So what can they offer the Wolves?
Tobias Harris, Shai Gilgeuos-Alexander, and a future first-round pick for Jimmy Butler
Personally, I would hope if the Wolves are trading with the Clippers they manage to get either Boban Marjanovic or Milos Teodosic out of the trade, as if we are going to need something to liven up our oncoming depression watching Point Wiggins closing out the game.
Survey Says - This is probably bad. Harris only has a year left on his contract and is best used as a power forward, leaving the Wolves with exactly zero good small forwards. The Clippers could kick in Wesley Johnson, but that is just a stop gap. A one-year rental and a mystery box at point guard, which is not a position of need, won’t help all that much.
The Wolves true destiny to trade Butler and Dieng to the Knicks and get back Joakim Noah. Thibs will lead next year with the Timberbulls (minus Butler) hoping that he can avoid a coup by packing his team with enough veterans that will back him. Of course, since NBA teams are not old-timey pirate ships, this will end disastrously and we all lose.
So what can the Knicks offer?
Joakim Noah, Courtney Lee, Kevin Knox, and a first round pick for Jimmy Butler and Gorgui Dieng
Impressively, this trade lowers the Wolves win projections by the most so far, a total of minus 12 wins.
Survey Says - While Kevin Knox impressed in summer league, many pegged him as a “taller Andrew Wiggins” in the lead-up to the draft. I do not believe this was meant to be a compliment.