Since the 2018 NBA offseason started, rumors and speculations continue to swirl that Jimmy Butler will be parting ways with the Minnesota Timberwolves. After the Timberwolves suffered an early playoff exit, Butler is reportedly frustrated with the work ethic and the approach on the defensive end of his young teammates, specifically Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins. Butler’s decision to decline the contract extension offered by the Timberwolves this offseason heated up the speculations about his departure in the summer of 2019.
Per Spotrac, Jimmy Butler could exercise his player option to become an unrestricted free agent next offseason. In the past months, reports have been circulating that the 28-year-old superstar is planning to team up with Boston Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving. As of now, the New York Knicks emerged as the top free agency destination for both superstars.
According to Matthew Travis of Fansided’s Empire Writes Back, the Knicks may no longer wait for the 2019 NBA free agency to add Jimmy Butler to their team. Travis believes the Knicks may consider trading for Butler if the Timberwolves make him available on the market before the February NBA trade deadline.
“The Knicks have been trying to break through and make the playoffs for years now, and Jimmy Butler could be the player to get them over that hump. With injuries and the lack of talent weighing the Knicks down, the past few years haven’t been great. However, a healthy Kristaps Porzingis accompanied by Jimmy Butler would be a duo that would keep opposing teams up at night. However, in order to reel in a player like Jimmy Butler, the Knicks would need to give up quite a bit.”
REPORT: Jimmy Butler Open to Leaving Timberwolves to Play With LeBron James https://t.co/SFxNYNJuaD
— NBART (@RetweetNBA) August 26, 2018
In the proposed trade deal by Fansided’s Empire Writes Back, the Knicks will be sending Kevin Knox and Tim Hardaway Jr. to the Timberwolves for Jimmy Butler. The deal works on ESPN’s NBA Trade Machine. If the trade becomes a reality, it could help both the Knicks and the Timberwolves address the issues on their roster.
The Knicks will finally acquire a superstar who can help Kristaps Porzingis bring the team back to title contention. The acquisition of Jimmy Butler will also increase the Knicks’ chance of acquiring Kyrie Irving in the 2019 NBA free agency, especially if they succeed to create enough salary cap space for a maximum free agent. Meanwhile, instead of losing Butler without getting anything in return, the Timberwolves will receive two young and promising players who fit the timeline of Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins.
As of now, there is no strong indication that the Timberwolves are planning to make Jimmy Butler available on the trading block. Timberwolves Head Coach Tom Thibodeau looked confident that Butler intends to stay in Minnesota beyond the 2018-19 NBA season. Expect more rumors to circulate before the February NBA trade deadline.