With their “Big Three” gone, the Los Angeles Clippers are no longer considered a serious threat in the Western Conference. However, the Clippers’ return to mediocrity isn’t expected to last long as they are currently looking for new superstars that can help them return to contention. One of their top targets on the trade market is Jimmy Butler of the Minnesota Timberwolves.
When Jimmy Butler demanded a trade from the Timberwolves, the Clippers were included on the list of his preferred trade destinations. In the potential deal with the Clippers, the Timberwolves are expected to demand a trade package centered on Tobias Harris. However, Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic recently reported that the Clippers “have yet to offer Harris in any package.”
With Tobias Harris off the table, Greg Swartz of Bleacher Report suggested that the Clippers could trade Lou Williams, Milos Teodosic, and Jerome Robinson to the Timberwolves for Jimmy Butler. The proposed trade deal works on the ESPN‘s NBA Trade Machine.
“Williams averaged a career-high 22.6 points per game for the Clippers last season and is due just $24 million over the next three seasons. With Jamal Crawford leaving in free agency, the Wolves can move from one premier sixth man to another. Teodosic gives them insurance at point guard for the injury-prone Derrick Rose, and Robinson was a lottery pick in this past June’s draft. While it may sting to give up Robinson so soon, the Clippers can move into playoff contention this season with Butler while still maintaining a max salary spot next summer.”
Yahoo Sources: More details on what occurred during Timberwolves' practice that featured Jimmy Butler unexpectedly subbing himself in and "talking s***" to front office, Karl Anthony-Towns and Andrew Wiggins. https://t.co/YsjTF5W8Wn
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) October 10, 2018
In exchange for their disgruntled superstar, the Timberwolves will receive two veterans who can help them remain competitive in the deep Western Conference and a young and promising talent to develop. Timberwolves Head Coach Tom Thibodeau may consider pairing Lou Williams with Jeff Teague in their backcourt and move Andrew Wiggins to the wing. As Swartz noted, Milos Teodosic will give the Timberwolves insurance if Derrick Rose suffers another injury.
Meanwhile, the potential acquisition of Jimmy Butler could help the Clippers return to the Western Conference Playoffs next season. Butler will give the Clippers a legitimate NBA superstar who is considered one of the best two-way players in the league. Aside from boosting their performance on both ends of the floor, the arrival of Butler could also make the Clippers an attractive superstar destination next summer.
The Clippers are in a strong position to open enough salary cap space to sign two maximum-salaried free agents next July. The 2019 NBA free agency will be loaded with several NBA superstars like Kyrie Irving, Kawhi Leonard, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant, Kemba Walker, DeMarcus Cousins, and DeAndre Jordan. Pairing one of those superstars with Butler will increase the Clippers’ chance of challenging the reigning NBA champion Golden State Warriors for Western Conference supremacy.