Despite losing LeBron James in the recent free agency, the Cleveland Cavaliers have made it clear that they have no plan of undergoing a full-scale rebuild. Their decision to give Kevin Love a massive contract extension showed that the Cavaliers still want to remain competitive in the upcoming 2018-19 NBA season. However, their roster, as currently constructed, may have a hard time earning a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
If they want to strengthen their chance of defending their title as Eastern Conference champions, adding another superstar to their roster is a must for the Cavaliers. Less than a month before the 2018-19 NBA season is set to begin, the Cavaliers have reportedly expressed interest in acquiring Jimmy Butler of the Minnesota Timberwolves. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert and Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor were “talking privately” about a potential deal.
“ESPN Sources: Another team pursuing a Jimmy Butler trade with Minnesota: Cleveland. Cavs owner Dan Gilbert was seen talking privately with Glen Taylor at NBA Board of Governors meeting on Friday. Both owners played a part in negotiating the Love-Wiggins deal.”
Jimmy Butler may not be on the level of LeBron James, but he is still considered to be one of the best two-way players in the league. Aside from being a reliable scoring option, Butler’s potential acquisition will help the Cavaliers address Kevin Love’s defensive issues. Butler could be tasked to defend the opposing team’s best player. In the 59 games that he played last season with the Timberwolves, the 29-year-old forward 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.
NEW: Heat remains in hot pursuit of Butler. And Heat would not do this if it didn't believe it could keep him longterm. https://t.co/gMTHwcXMzH
— Barry Jackson (@flasportsbuzz) September 24, 2018
The Cavaliers have a good relationship with the Timberwolves when it comes to trade negotiations. In the summer of 2014, Dan Gilbert and Glen Taylor reportedly played a part in the blockbuster trade deal that sent Kevin Love to Cleveland in exchange for Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett. With Jimmy Butler finding his way out of Minnesota, it’s not a surprise that the Cavaliers reached out to the Timberwolves again.
Since the last offseason, the Cavaliers have already expressed interest in adding Butler to their team. However, as of now, it remains a big question mark whether or not the Cavaliers have enough trade assets that can convince the Timberwolves to send another superstar to Cleveland. The Cavaliers have young players like Jordan Clarkson, Cedi Osman, Larry Nance Jr., and Ante Zizic to offer to Minnesota, but the Timberwolves are reportedly demanding a comparable veteran in any deal involving their disgruntled superstar.