Minnesota Timberwolves small forward Jimmy Butler is one of the NBA superstars who is expected to be traded before the February NBA trade deadline. His decision to decline the contract extension offered by the Timberwolves heated up the speculation about his potential departure next summer. If the Timberwolves will not get a commitment that Butler intends to stay beyond the 2018-19 NBA season, trading him now will be their best option, rather than losing him in the summer of 2019 as an unrestricted free agent without getting anything in return.
Once he becomes available on the trading block, one of the NBA teams who could express interest in acquiring him is the Toronto Raptors. After trading DeMar DeRozan for Kawhi Leonard, the Raptors became one of the top teams to dominate the LeBron James-less Eastern Conference next season. However, in order to strengthen their chance of beating other Eastern Conference powerhouse teams like the Boston Celtics and the Philadelphia 76ers, the Raptors should consider adding another superstar on their roster, according to Fadeaway World.
“Now that Toronto has opted to risk progression in acquiring Kawhi Leonard in exchange for DeMar DeRozan they need to give The Klaw a reason to stay in the great white North. Kawhi and Kyle Lowry will work well but in order to challenge the 76ers and Boston, they will need some more firepower. Trading Serge Ibaka for Butler gives Minnesota a good defensive stretch 4 and gives Toronto another defensive stopper alongside Leonard. Kawhi is long enough to play PF and Butler would play the SF. Toronto would become a very good defensive team as well as devastating on the fast break.”
— Silver Screen & Roll (@LakersSBN) September 4, 2018
The potential acquisition of Jimmy Butler will undeniably boost the Raptors’ performance on both ends of the floor. In the 59 games he played with the Timberwolves last season, Butler averaged 22.2 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.9 assists, and 2.0 steals on 47.4 percent shooting from the field, and 35 percent shooting from beyond the arc. Aside from being a reliable scoring option behind Kawhi Leonard and Kyle Lowry, the 28-year-old small forward could also be tasked to defend the opposing team’s best player.
A starting lineup featuring Lowry, Danny Green, Butler, Leonard, and Jonas Valanciunas gives the Raptors a higher chance of conquering the Eastern Conference and challenging the reigning NBA champion Golden State Warriors. However, as of now, it remains a big question mark if the Timberwolves will agree to trade Jimmy Butler for Serge Ibaka. The Raptors will need to add young players and future draft picks to convince the Timberwolves to make a deal.