So you’re settling in for your post-lunch daily NBA reading and them boom – the Shams-bomb pop up on your phone:
Jimmy Butler has requested a trade from the Minnesota Timberwolves, league sources tell me and @JonKrawczynski. Butler has given Minnesota a list of one-to-three teams with whom he’s open to signing extension, in anticipation of trade.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) September 19, 2018
The timing of this is wild. A week before training camp starts and a bonafide All-Star is trying to peace out of a playoff team.
My mind immediately went to the Sixers and Lakers as potential landing spots. Both squads have good young pieces that would make a trade for Butler palatable for Minnesota. However…
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
Woj says otherwise.
Jimmy’s always been sort of an old school player. Didn’t realize that would extend to a mid-aughts line of thinking as far as free agent destinations are concerned. I thought we were done with marquee players demanding trades to marquee markets, but I suppose not.
And for the record, if I were an NBA superstar, I would 100% demand a trade to a cool-ass city.
All that said, this wouldn’t be an NBA piece about trade destinations (or a piece by a rabid Celtics homer) if I didn’t bring up Boston. I’m not exactly sure what kind of package the Celtics would put together, but I feel like something centered around Jaylen Brown and a pick could be enough to make things work. Butler and Kyrie Irving have openly wondered about playing together in the past, and have a good relationship. If you’re the Celtics, bring in Butler would pretty much ensure that you’re able to re-sign Kyrie long term.
Unfortunately, if Jimmy ends up in New York or Brooklyn, I think it paves the way for Kyrie to jump ship after next season. Which, I mean, sad.
Biggest loser in this scenario is Tom Thibodeau. Maybe don’t run your players 37 minutes per game. You get the impression that Butler was on the precipice of asking for a request all summer. Then at the last minute, when he realized he’d actually have to go bust his butt with ridiculous sprints and drills for Thibs during training camp, he realized there has to be another way.
Regardless, the NBA continues to out-do itself. It’s truly a 12-month a year sport and I couldn’t be happier about it.