With reports suggesting that Minnesota Timberwolves guard/forward Jimmy Butler will soon be having a discussion with head coach and president Tom Thibodeau about his “future” with the team, speculation is running rife regarding what this could mean for the 29-year-old All-Star. As previous rumors had suggested that Butler is unhappy with All-Star center Karl-Anthony Towns and fellow wingman Andrew Wiggins, the trade rumors and predictions are swirling once again, and as Bleacher Report sees it, his list of potential trade destinations could be led off by two teams he has often been linked to — the New York Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers.
According to Bleacher Report’s Sean Highkin, the Knicks could be a leading contender due to the “inevitable” plan to waive center Joakim Noah via the stretch provision. Should such a trade push forward, Highkin suggested that the Knicks could send veteran guard/forward Courtney Lee and young point guard Frank Ntilikina to the Timberwolves and get Butler in return. He said that Lee could still help Minnesota remain competitive, while the 20-year-old Ntilikina could tap into his potential as a top defensive point guard who won’t put much of a strain on the team’s finances.
As for the suggested Lakers deal, Bleacher Report wrote that the team could give up three of its promising youngsters — forward Kyle Kuzma and guards Josh Hart and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope — and get Jimmy Butler in return. The publication wrote that Butler could make a good consolation prize if the Lakers trade for him after failing to land Paul George and Kawhi Leonard earlier in the summer. And while Caldwell-Pope’s $12 million contract for one year could “get [the Lakers] halfway” past the $20.4 million Butler will earn in the 2018-19 season, Bleacher Report’s Highkin speculated that Thibodeau might prefer a trade package with veteran point guard Rajon Rondo, as the two had worked together when Thibodeau was a Boston Celtics assistant coach.
ESPN story on the issues challenging Jimmy Butler, Tom Thibodeau and Minnesota’s future. https://t.co/BkWLNq47xf— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) September 15, 2018
Aside from the New York Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers, Bleacher Report also mentioned the Philadelphia 76ers, Denver Nuggets, and Phoenix Suns as potential destinations for Jimmy Butler, should he be traded by the Timberwolves.
Prior to the reports of Butler’s upcoming talk with Thibodeau, the four-time All-Star had previously been linked to the New York Knicks, as several sources, including Business Insider, wrote that Butler and Boston Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving are looking for ways to sign for the same team as free agents in the summer of 2019. While the Lakers rumors haven’t gone too far beyond a number of trade suggestions, Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report wrote last month that Butler is open to playing alongside LeBron James in Los Angeles if he gets a chance.