Minnesota Timberwolves superstar Jimmy Butler recently had a meeting with Coach Tom Thibodeau and General Manager Scott Layden to discuss his future with the team. The conversation between both parties didn't seem to go well as Butler is reportedly demanding a trade from the Timberwolves. With the All-Star forward expected to become an unrestricted free agent next summer, trading him now will be Minnesota's best option than losing him in July 2019 without getting anything in return.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, Jimmy Butler gave the Timberwolves a list of his preferred trade destinations, which includes the New York Knicks. Since the 2018 NBA offseason started, the Knicks have been frequently mentioned in various rumors involving Butler. With the plethora of trade assets they have, the Knicks are currently in a strong position to engage in a blockbuster deal with the Timberwolves.
In a potential trade deal, Marc Berman of the New York Post believes the Knicks "would gladly offer" a trade package including Courtney Lee and Tim Hardaway Jr. to the Timberwolves for Jimmy Butler.
"The Knicks would gladly offer on-the-block Courtney Lee in a package and probably Tim Hardaway Jr., too, in a deal if they thought Irving would join Butler in the summer. Irving and Butler want to pair up in 2019 — possibly with the Knicks. The Knicks aren't eager to throw in first-round picks or point guard Frank Ntilikina, which could make them a long shot. Mills was not with the organization in 2011, when the Knicks gave up a trove of assets to Denver for Carmelo Anthony when they could have waited to sign him as a free agent. The trade backfired because of their depletion of assets."The acquisition of Jimmy Butler will not only make the Knicks competitive while waiting for the return of Kristaps Porzingis, but it will also strengthen their chance of signing another big name in the 2019 NBA free agency - Kyrie Irving of the Boston Celtics. In the past months, there has been speculation that Butler and Irving, who are close pals and Team USA teammates, want to play together in one team. Having both superstars will undeniably make the Knicks a significant team once again in the league.
The "Big Three" of Irving, Butler, and Porzingis will give the Knicks a higher chance of beating Eastern Conference powerhouse teams like the Boston Celtics and the Toronto Raptors in a best-of-seven series. However, as of now, it remains questionable if the Knicks have a strong interest in acquiring Butler via trade. Even before Butler demanded a trade, Knicks President Steve Mills has already made it clear that they have no interest in throwing away trade assets for a player that they could sign in the 2019 NBA free agency.