The Lone Wolf: Jimmy Butler Requests a Trade
Last summer, all-star shooting guard Jimmy Butler was traded from the Chicago Bulls to the Minnesota Timberwolves. Butler led the Timberwolves back to relevance. Despite battling an injury, Butler had a stellar season, averaging 22.2 points per game while shooting a career-high 47.4 percent.The Timberwolves were in the playoffs for the first time since 2004 Although the Timberwolves’ playoff appearance ended in the first round, their future was bright and they were considered a threat in the Western Conference.
Fast forward a year later, the Timberwolves seems to be in turmoil. Reports surfaced over the summer that Butler was unhappy with the team, in particular with teammates Karl Anthony-Towns and Andrew Wiggins. Butler denied those reports, stating it was more about his contract. Butler has a player option, in which he can become a free agent next summer. He does not want to remain with the team beyond the 2018-2019 season. On September 17, Butler meet with Coach Tom Thibodeau and General Manager Scott Layden to discuss his future with the team. On September 20, reports surfaced that Butler has demanded to be traded. His top choices are the Los Angeles Clippers and the New York Knicks,
This news has sent shock waves throughout the NBA. A lot questions remain. Should the ‘Wolves trade Butler? If they do, which team will best suit him? What will happen to the ‘Wolves if Butler leaves? Lets examine those questions.
SHOULD THE ‘WOLVES TRADED BUTLER?
Absolutely not. Right now, Butler is too valuable to the team. The ‘Wolves were only 10-13 in games without Butler. Also, besides Anthony-Towns, Butler is the most consistent player on the team. Butler has been voted as an all-star for four consecutive seasons.
WHAT IF BUTLER IS TRADED?
If the ‘Wolves decide to move on from Butler, their team will suffer. The ‘Wolves are not a playoff team without him. Although they still have very solid players, Butler is a difference-maker and is very clutch. The team will have to lean on Wiggins to uplift them. The jury is still out on whether he is ready to take on that role. On the other hand, Butler will end up on a team whose chances of competing are slim. If Butler wants to make another playoff run and be healthy, his best option would be to stay in Minnesota for at least one more season.
THE BEST FIT FOR BUTLER
As mentioned before, Butler’s preferred destinations are the Clippers and the Knicks. The Brooklyn Nets could join the race as they have enough cap space to sign Butler to a max contract. Reports are swirling about the Los Angeles Lakers’ interest in Butler. Butler wants to be the leader of the team. He cannot be that guy with the Lakers. The best option for him would be the Knicks. The Knicks have more talented players than the Clippers and the Nets. Their long term prospects look brighter. Also, they have the drawing power to lure a big name next summer. Butler will immediately take on the leadership role and give the Knicks a better chance of making the playoffs. Grouping him with Kristaps Porzingis, Enes Kanter, and rookie Kevin Knox will be interesting.