It’s widely been rumored that Jimmy Butler is no longer happy with the Minnesota Timberwolves. Last week, Twin Cities reported that the 28-year-old shooting guard refused a lucrative four-year extension worth $110 million, which the publication noted could put Minnesota under pressure to trade him before the coming NBA season’s trade deadline or risk “[losing] him for nothing” once he enters free agency next summer. With that in mind, several trade scenarios have been proposed, including a few that could have him sent to the Boston Celtics or Los Angeles Lakers for some of their younger, more promising players.
On Saturday, Fansided blog Dunking with Wolves suggested the aforementioned trades, which, while not actual rumors that could lead to a transaction in the coming days or weeks, are proposals that could theoretically be explored this offseason. These scenarios started with a trade that would have the Boston Celtics getting Jimmy Butler and an unprotected 2020 first-round draft pick, and the Minnesota Timberwolves getting guards Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart, and power forward Guerschon Yabusele in return.
According to Dunking with Wolves, the above trade has potential to work as it would allow Butler to play alongside Kyrie Irving, just as rumors had previously suggested. Earlier this month, the Chicago Sun-Times wrote that Butler and Irving are “still trying to figure out a way to play together,” which could result in the Celtics trading for Butler this summer, or both All-Star guards choosing to opt out of their player options and signing with the same team next offseason.
As the Celtics have reportedly been hesitant to include Brown in trade packages, and Smart, who had recently re-signed with Boston, cannot be included in multi-player deals for the next two months, per league rules, Dunking with Wolves suggested that Jimmy Butler could also be traded to the Los Angeles Lakers. This proposed trade would have Lakers also getting a 2019 second-round pick, and the Timberwolves getting small forwards Brandon Ingram and Luol Deng, and an unprotected 2019 first-round draft selection.
Looking at the possible ramifications for both teams, Dunking with Wolves wrote that Jimmy Butler could give the Los Angeles Lakers a much-needed second All-Star acquisition to follow up on their signing of LeBron James earlier this month. But while Ingram could potentially blossom into an All-Star with the Timberwolves, Deng’s big contract might pose a problem. The blog site observed that the team has another similarly onerous contract in that of Gorgui Dieng, who was demoted to a reserve role last season. Deng, on the other hand, earned $18 million for the Lakers in 2017-18, but played just one game for the team due to injuries.
While both trade scenarios, as well as a third one that suggested the Timberwolves could trade Butler and Dieng to the Miami Heat for Hassan Whiteside, Dion Waiters, and a 2020 first-round pick, are merely hypothetical, Dunking with Wolves cautioned that all of them come with a caveat. The onus would be on Minnesota’s trade partners to convince Butler to re-sign in the summer of 2019, lest he end up as a “rental player” for one season or less.