After trading DeMar DeRozan for Kawhi Leonard, the Toronto Raptors emerged as one of the top favorite NBA teams to fully dominate the LeBron James-less Eastern Conference next season. In the ESPN Summer Forecast, the Raptors earned the second-highest votes to become the Eastern Conference champions and fourth-highest votes to take home the 2018-19 NBA championship title. However, if they want to improve their chance of achieving their goal, the Raptors should consider adding another superstar on their roster.
One of their potential trade targets is Jimmy Butler of the Minnesota Timberwolves. After meeting with Coach Tom Thibodeau and General Manager Scott Layden, Butler is currently finding his way out of Minnesota. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the 29-year-old small forward is demanding a trade from the Timberwolves and has given a list of his preferred trade destinations.
These include the New York Knicks, Brooklyn Nets, and the Los Angeles Clippers. Toronto may not be included on Butler’s list, but Raptors General Manager Masai Ujiri is the type of person who loves taking a huge risk. According to Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report, the potential acquisition of Butler will make the Raptors a “full-pledged superteam.”
“This would be a full-fledged superteam with potentially multiple superpowers. An offense with Leonard as the lead, Butler as the All-Star sidekick and Lowry as an overqualified third banana is almost guaranteed to be elite. A defense blanketing opposing wings with Leonard, Butler and Danny Green sounds like possible kryptonite for even the best small-ball clubs. This is a(nother) home run for the Raptors.”
— Sporting News (@sportingnews) September 20, 2018
In the proposed trade deal by Bleacher Report, the Raptors will be trading Serge Ibaka, OG Anunoby, C.J. Miles, Delon Wright, and a 2021 top-protected first-round pick to the Timberwolves for Jimmy Butler, Gorgui Dieng, and Tyus Jones. The hypothetical trade works on ESPN‘s NBA Trade Machine.
Jimmy Butler would undeniably be an incredible addition to the Raptors. Aside from being a reliable scoring option, Butler can also be tasked to guard the opposing team’s best player. In the 59 games that 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 35.0 percent from beyond the arc.
A starting lineup featuring Kyle Lowry, Danny Green, Jimmy Butler, Kawhi Leonard, and Jonas Valanciunas would make the Raptors a team to fear in the upcoming 2018-19 NBA season. However, it remains questionable if the Raptors’ proposed trade package is enough to convince the Timberwolves to send Butler to Toronto.