After the Minnesota Timberwolves suffered an early exit in the Western Conference Playoffs, rumors and speculations started to circulate about Jimmy Butler’s frustration with his young teammates, specifically Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins. His decision to decline the contract extension with the Timberwolves this summer heated up the speculations that he will be leaving the team next summer as an unrestricted free agent.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN recently reported that Jimmy Butler will meet with Timberwolves Head Coach Tom Thibodeau and General Manager Scott Layden this week to discuss his future with the team. If the Timberwolves will not get an assurance that Butler intends to stay beyond the 2018-19 NBA season, rival executives believe Minnesota will make him available on the trade market. According to Sean Highkin of Bleacher Report, one of the NBA teams who could express interest in acquiring Butler is the Los Angeles Lakers.
“It’s no secret that the Los Angeles Lakers, with LeBron James on board, are looking for a second star. With a cadre of young players to include in a trade, they could put together a solid package without mortgaging their future. And after missing out on Paul George and (for now, at least) Kawhi Leonard, it may behoove them to be proactive with Butler and trade for him if he becomes available rather than wait until July and assume they can sign him as a free agent.”
Despite the addition of LeBron James in the recent free agency, the Lakers are still not considered as a legitimate title contender next season. If they want to challenge the reigning NBA champions, Golden State Warriors, for the Western Conference supremacy, acquiring another superstar should be a priority for the Lakers.
ESPN story on the issues challenging Jimmy Butler, Tom Thibodeau and Minnesota’s future. https://t.co/BkWLNq47xf— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) September 15, 2018
Jimmy Butler will undeniably boost the Lakers’ performance on both ends of the floor. In 59 games he played last season with the Timberwolves, the 29-year-old shooting guard averaged 22.2 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.9 assists, and 2.0 steals on 47.4 percent shooting from the field and 35.0 percent from beyond the arc. Aside from being the Lakers’ second scoring option next to LeBron James, Butler can also be tasked to defend the opposing team’s best player.
In the proposed trade deal by Bleacher Report, the Lakers will be sending Kyle Kuzma, Josh Hart, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope to the Timberwolves for Jimmy Butler. The suggested trade is not only expected to benefit the Lakers but also the Timberwolves. In exchange for their disgruntled superstar, the Timberwolves will be acquiring two young and promising talents who fit the timeline of Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins.
However, since Kentavious Caldwell-Pope just signed a new contract in the recent free agency, the Lakers and the Timberwolves will be needing to wait until December 15 before engaging in a trade deal.