The departure of Jimmy Butler in the Minnesota Timberwolves seems inevitable, especially after reports spread about the All-Star forward’s rumored frustration with his young teammates, specifically Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins. Per Spotrac, Butler could exercise his early termination option to become an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2019. If the Timberwolves will not get an assurance that Butler intends to stay beyond the 2018-19 NBA season, trading him now will be their best option than losing him in free agency without getting in return.
In his recent article, Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report mentioned Jimmy Butler as one of the NBA players who are likely to switch teams. The 28-year-old small forward is reportedly open to the idea of moving on from the Timberwolves to play alongside LeBron James in the Los Angeles Lakers. After filling up their roster with one-year contracts, the Lakers have the ability to give Butler a maximum contract in 2019 NBA free agency.
However, in need of more star power to help LeBron James conquer the Western Conference next season, the Lakers may consider engaging in a blockbuster deal with the Timberwolves before the February NBA trade deadline. In the proposed trade deal by Trey Flynn of Fansided’s Dunking With Wolves, the Lakers will be sending Kyle Kuzma, Josh Hart, Luol Deng, and a 2019 lottery-protected first-round pick to the Timberwolves for Butler and Justin Patton. The suggested trade works on ESPN‘s NBA Trade Machine.
Aside from acquiring another superstar who will play alongside LeBron James, the deal will also allow the Lakers to get rid of Luol Deng and his lucrative contract. This will greatly help them in chasing their third superstar in the 2019 NBA free agency. The trade will also benefit Deng as it will enable him to reunite with Coach Tom Thibodeau.
“The Los Angeles Lakers now have the breathing room for cap space during the summer of 2019 with this move sending Luol Deng back to Timberwolves head coach Tom Thibodeau. Deng was making nearly $20 million for the next two seasons and that would’ve stunted the potential growth of the Lakers over the next two summers during free agency. Now with getting Butler before he signs his max extension, theoretically the Lakers can sign some more superstar talent to ride with LeBron James in the Western Conference.”
Meanwhile, instead of losing Jimmy Butler for nothing in free agency, the Timberwolves will be receiving two young and promising talents who can help them remain competitive in the Western Conference. Kyle Kuzma and Josh Hart have shown impressive performances in their rookie season, and both of them fit the timeline of Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins.