Weeks before the start of the 2018-19 NBA season, Jimmy Butler is currently finding his way out of the Minnesota Timberwolves. Butler demanded a trade from the Timberwolves, and gave them a list of his preferred trade destinations. As of now, several NBA teams have already expressed strong interest in adding the 29-year-old superstar to their team.
At this point in his career, winning is Jimmy Butler’s No. 1 priority — and he is surely hoping to be traded to a team where he has a higher chance of contending for the NBA championship title. According to Shane Rhodes of Basketball Insiders, one of the best landing spots for Butler is the San Antonio Spurs.
“The Spurs return a squad that, without Kawhi Leonard, managed to lock down 47 wins and a playoff spot last season. With DeRozan now in the fold, they looked primed to return to the upper echelon of Western Conference teams, if not remain a near 50-wins and playoff caliber. Butler would, obviously, increase their upside. Gregg Popovich is always going to be a draw for players as well. One of the most respected figures in the game over the last two-decades, Popovich is not only a great coach, but could provide Butler with some nights off, something that the 28-year-old has sorely lacked in his seven previous seasons.”
— Shlomo Sprung (@SprungOnSports) September 28, 2018
Last season, Coach Gregg Popovich and the Spurs had managed to earn a playoff spot in the deep Western Conference, despite losing Kawhi Leonard due to injury. Having the “Big Three” of Jimmy Butler, DeMar DeRozan, and LaMarcus Aldridge will undeniably make the Spurs a huge threat to any other top-tier teams in the league — perhaps even intimidating the reigning NBA champions, the Golden State Warriors.
Jimmy Butler may not be as good as a healthy Kawhi Leonard on paper, but he is still considered as one of the best two-way players in the league. Aside from being a reliable scoring option, Butler could also be tasked with defending against the opposing team’s best player. In 59 games he played 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.
Though he is set to become an unrestricted free agent next summer, playing under one of the best coaches in the league history — Gregg Popovich — could be enough to convince Jimmy Butler to stay long-term in San Antonio. Unfortunately, even if the Spurs are really interested in adding Butler, it remains questionable whether they have enough trade assets that could potentially convince the Timberwolves into making a deal.