It has now been over three weeks since Jimmy Butler requested a trade from the Minnesota Timberwolves. However, Butler still remains on the team. For some Wolves fans, it has been three weeks too long. With the lovely reports of dysfunction in the Timberwolves organization, nobody seems to know when, and even if, Jimmy Butler will be moved. A sensible person would think that Butler will be moved before the season, which is now just four days away. But, this is Tom Thibodeau we are talking about. There is a chance that Thibodeau could be coaching for his job this season. Thibs has three years left on his contract that he signed back in the 2016 offseason. Are the Timberwolves a playoff team without Butler? Likely not. That seems to be what is holding Thibodeau back from making a deal. If Thibodeau leads the Wolves to a non-playoff finish, he could be out the door, and that non-playoff finish becomes even more likely without Butler.
On the other hand, there is upside to moving Butler. Getting something for Jimmy now is better than losing him for nothing later. There is a chance that Thibodeau could find a deal that sets the Wolves up well for the future, to fit in with Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins. So, let’s run through trades that every team in the NBA could offer that would set the Wolves up well enough for Tom Thibodeau to keep his job. It’s time for NBA teams to call and say “Gimme Jimmy.”
*Trades below are deals that I believe the Minnesota Timberwolves would/should accept. All trades work through the ESPN NBA Trade Machine.
Sixers get: Jimmy Butler
Timberwolves get: Markelle Fultz and Robert Covington
We start off with the Philadelphia 76ers. The Sixers are young and poised for another breakout season. Many experts project the Sixers to finish in the top-three in the Eastern Conference. However, adding Jimmy Butler to the roster could make them the favorites in the East. In return, the Wolves get an established veteran in Robert Covington, and a still promising talent with Markelle Fultz. Just entering the prime of his career, Covington averaged 12.6 points and 5.4 rebounds per game last season. Covington shot 36.9% from three and could slide right into the Timberwolves starting lineup as a small forward with Andrew Wiggins as the shooting guard. Markelle Fultz gives the Timberwolves the future piece that they are looking to add in a Jimmy Butler trade. Fultz had a disappointing and very interesting rookie season in the NBA, to say the least. His jump shot was broken last season. However, Fultz worked with Drew Hanlen over the offseason, and the shot looks better, not great, but better. All in all, this would be a complete package for both teams.
Celtics get: Jimmy Butler and Gorgui Dieng
Timberwolves get: Gordon Hayward
The Boston Celtics are a team that I thought would be very involved in the Jimmy Butler talks when he requested a trade from the Wolves. One of Butler’s good friends, Kyrie Irving, is on the team, and the Celtics have the assets to pry Butler away from the Wolves. However, there doesn’t seem to be any steam on Butler to the Celtics. Boston seems to be content with staying the course with their young core and letting them gel into a championship-caliber team. But, there could be a way to get Butler without giving up a young piece. Offering Gordon Hayward, who is coming off a season where he played five minutes, would be a safe option for the Celtics. Butler would slide in and fill the spot that Hayward opens in the lineup. Butler would fit in nicely with Brad Stevens, competing on every possession on the defensive end of the floor. For the Timberwolves, they get a high-level player that can help them stay in the playoff picture this year and into the future. While it may not be the most futuristic trade for the Timberwolves, acquiring an all-star caliber player and getting off a bad contract would be a win for the franchise.
Nets get: Jimmy Butler and Gorgui Dieng
Timberwolves get: Allen Crabbe, Kenneth Faried, and D’Angelo Russell
The first report that came out about Jimmy Butler’s preferred destination listed Brooklyn as a team of interest. However, Brooklyn’s name hasn’t come up much since. The Nets have a load of expiring contracts they can offer to the Timberwolves that allows them to take on salary. But, the Nets may not be too interested in taking on a lot of future salary because they are in line to have two max contract slots next summer. But, locking up a star player on the roster is worth it. D’Angelo Russell had a solid season in Brooklyn last year averaging 15.5 points and 5.2 assists per game, but he played just 48 games. Russell has missed 55 games in his first three seasons in the NBA, not a great number. Trading Russell, for an also injury-riddled Butler is worth the price. Russell will be a restricted free agent next summer, likely looking for a nice payday. If the Nets want to sign two max contract players, they may not have room for Russell anyway. For the Wolves, getting a player of Russell’s caliber that still has good potential, along with dumping Dieng’s contract would make the sour taste in the mouth of Wolves fans a tad less sour.
New York Knicks
Knicks get: Jimmy Butler
Timberwolves get: Courtney Lee and Kevin Knox
Remember, these are trades that the Minnesota Timberwolves would or should do. Are the Knicks really going to offer Knox in a trade with the Wovles? Probably not. But, would the Wolves do a trade with the Knicks that doesn’t include Knox? Probably not. Point being, there is not a great match between the New York Knicks and the Minnesota Timberwolves. Courtney Lee would fill the Wolves’ immediate shooting needs, and Kevin Knox would be a great piece next to Karl-Anthony Towns to build for the future, but it just isn’t happening. Call me the first to be wrong if the Knicks and Timberwolves somehow come to terms on a Jimmy Butler trade.
Raptors get: Jimmy Butler and Gorgui Dieng
Timberwolves get: Kyle Lowry and C.J. Miles
Oh boy. Could you imagine a Kawhi Leonard/Jimmy Butler defensive duo? Opposing teams would be better off not crossing the border into Canada. That reason alone makes this trade worth the cost for the Raptors. In the case of the Timberwolves, they would be getting a veteran all-star in Kyle Lowry that can keep the team afloat this season. Yes, the Wolves have Jeff Teague, but getting Lowry would still be a win for Minnesota. In addition, adding three-point shooting with Miles, a guy Minnesota pursued in the summer of 2017, would bolster a Timberwolves bench unit that ranked towards the bottom of the league last season. Finally, as a cherry on top, like most of these trades, dumping Dieng’s salary allows the Timberwolves to possibly create more wiggle room in the years to come. The Raptors are a team that I would keep my eye on in talks about Jimmy Butler, especially if the talks with the Heat never pick back up.
Bulls get: Jimmy Butler and Tom Thibodeau
Timberwolves get: Kris Dunn, Zach LaVine, and Lauri Markkanen
The pettiness would be real.
Cavs get: Jimmy Butler
Timberwolves get: Kevin Love
First off, this trade can’t happen right now. The Cavaliers re-signed Kevin Love over the summer, so he isn’t able to get traded until January 15th. However, if Butler is still a member of the Timberwolves come January, this trade makes sense for both sides. It is possible the Wolves could go into the season with Butler. Then, if Butler is still set on leaving the organization in the summer, the Wolves may have no choice but to trade him at the deadline. This leaves the Cavaliers as a great trade option. Offering Kevin Love at the trade deadline would be a hard offer to refuse if you’re Minnesota. Love had a successful first stint with the Wolves that ended on a bad note. However, pairing Love with Karl-Anthony Towns could turn out to be a very deadly duo, at least on offense. If push comes to shove and Jimmy Butler is still on the Wolves at the trade deadline, don’t be surprised to see the Cavaliers make a push.
Pistons get: Jimmy Butler
Timberwolves get: Stanley Johnson, Reggie Jackson, and Khyri Thomas
The Pistons made a ton of moves last year. The deal to bring in Blake Griffin at the trade deadline was the biggest deal of the regular season. So, don’t be surprised if the Pistons got back in on the action with the next star player to be moved. The Pistons have some promising assets that could entice Minnesota to make a deal. Stanley Johnson is a young wing that has shown flashes on both ends of the court. While he doesn’t shoot the three-point shot at an effective clip, his defensive ability would be welcomed in Minnesota. Khyri Thomas is another young wing that has the potential to develop into a capable NBA player. The 2018 second-round pick out of Creighton is known for his defense, something the Timberwolves aren’t known for. Finally, Reggie Jackson comes in, makes the salary work, and can help the Wolves stay competitive this season. Jackson likely would not have much of a future in Minnesota, but he could be re-routed to a point guard needy team like the Suns.
Pacers get: Jimmy Butler
Timberwolves get: Aaron Holiday, Thaddeus Young, and a protected first-round pick
The Indiana Pacers have reportedly not shown great interest in Jimmy Butler. Pairing Butler with Victor Oladipo seems like a worthwhile idea, but Indiana seems content with the pieces they have. For the Timberwolves, Holiday, Young, and a pick would be a solid return for the all-star wing. The Timberwolves showed interest in Holiday during the pre-draft process, but went with a more versatile defender in Josh Okogie out of Georgia Tech. Young played in Minnesota previously, but as an expiring contract, he could fill in as a great role player for Tom Thibodeau. The protected first-round pick is an extra asset that would give the Timberwolves multiple first-round picks in an upcoming NBA Draft.
Bucks get: Jimmy Butler
Timberwolves get: Khris Middleton and Tony Snell
Early on in the Jimmy Butler trade request, there was a report that the Bucks had expressed interest in Butler. In fact, there was a report from Darren Wolfson that the Bucks had offered the Timberwolves Eric Bledsoe and Malcolm Brogdon in exchange for Jimmy. However, the Wolves would need more for their all-star. A package involving Khris Middleton would get the Wolves to pull the trigger. Middleton is a solid defender and a great offensive player that doesn’t need the ball in his hands to make plays. In addition, Snell is a three and D wing that has ties to Tom Thibodeau. For the Bucks, getting Jimmy Butler to slide in next to Giannis would highly increase their chances in the weaker Eastern Conference.
Heat get: Jimmy Butler and Gorgui Dieng
Timberwolves get: Josh Richardson, Hassan Whiteside, and a first-round pick
The Miami Heat. The most talked about team in the Jimmy Butler sweepstakes. In fact, the Heat and Wolves came close to a deal for Butler last weekend, before the Wolves asked for more and Pat Riley reportedly hung up the phone and called Thibodeau a mother****er. After that report surfaced, it seemed like it would be hard for talks to pick up again; however, when teams were that close to a deal, it’s hard to see the two not coming to terms on some sort of middle ground. In fact, that middle ground, at least for the Timberwolves could be Josh Richardson, a young wing on a team-friendly deal, Hassan Whiteside, makes the cap work and provides interior defense, and a first-round pick to bring in a future young player. That seems reasonable for the Timberwolves at this point. For the Heat, getting Butler, which would allow them to re-sign him next summer, brings a star back to Miami. Ever since LeBron left, the Heat have been mediocre at best, Butler can help change that. While talks may currently be stalled, if I was a betting man, I would put my money on Butler being in a Heat jersey before the season ends.
Hornets get: Jimmy Butler
Timberwolves get: Malik Monk, Jeremy Lamb, and Marvin Williams
First and foremost, this trade is not happening. The chances of Jimmy Butler being traded to the Hornets are little to none. However, it’s not a bad trade for either team. The Wolves get a young guard in Monk that still possesses a ton of potential. While Monk had a rough rookie season, he is currently averaging 11.3 points and 4.7 assists per game this preseason. In addition, Monk is making 40% of his three-point attempts in preseason action. Yes, it’s preseason, but it appears that Monk is primed for a much better sophomore campaign. Additionally, Jeremy Lamb gives the Wolves another wing that had his best season of his career last year with the Hornets. Lamb has one year left on his contract, but Lamb is a more than serviceable wing in today’s fast paced game. Finally, Marvin Williams makes the salary work and provides the Wolves with even more shooting. For a team that didn’t make many threes last season, all three of these players would provide a boost for Minnesota. For the Hornets, what do they have to lose? Why not try and make a splash, pairing Butler with Kemba Walker and see how far they can get in the Eastern Conference. If it doesn’t work, reset over the summer and go into a rebuild.
Wizards get: Jimmy Butler and Gorgui Dieng
Timberwolves get: Otto Porter Jr. and Ian Mahinmi
The Wizards need to make a play on Jimmy Butler. Washington has been stuck in the middle of the Eastern Conference for what seems like forever. If Washington could get Minnesota to bite on a deal that basically swaps Porter Jr. for Butler, that is a must for the Wizards. For Minnesota, they could do worse. Getting a younger wing that has already had proven success in the NBA is a win for the Timberwolves. In addition, swapping Dieng and Mahinmi is a win for Minnesota. At the same salary figure, Mahinmi has just two years left on his deal, where Dieng has three years remaining. One downside for the Timberwolves in this trade is the money the team would owe Andrew Wiggins, Karl-Anthony Towns, and Otto Porter Jr. With each of those players being on a deal over $25M a year, the future cap space for the Timberwolves would be ugly.
Hawks get: Jimmy Butler
Timberwolves get: Jeremy Lin, Kevin Huerter, and John Collins
Add this to the list as one of the most unlikely trade scenarios for Jimmy Butler. Again, this is deal that Minnesota would at least think about from other teams, there is no chance the Hawks would actually do this. For the Wolves, getting two youngs guys in Huerter and Collins would help them build around Karl-Anthony Towns. Adding Lin helps with guard depth, but he wouldn’t be around for more than a season, unless Minnesota lets Tyus Jones walk next summer. If this trade happens, check on me and NBA Twitter, because nobody would be able to handle it.
Magic get: Jimmy Butler
Timberwolves get: Evan Fournier and two future first-round picks
What are the Magic doing? If anyone can answer that question, hats off to them, because that team has problems. Taking a chance on Butler would likely not be worth it for Orlando, considering Jimmy would likely bolt after the season. However, getting Fournier and a couple future picks would be an okay return for Minnesota. Fournier would slide into the starting two-guard position for the Wolves and help them win games this season. The future picks would allow Minnesota to draft young, cheap talent in the NBA Draft. Again, unless the Magic are really looking to take a chance and they don’t care about their future, this trade isn’t happening.
Golden State Warriors
Not applicable. I don’t even think the Warriors would pick up the phone. The Timberwolves wouldn’t do anything without Klay Thompson, and the Warriors aren’t giving up Klay.
Kings get: Jimmy Butler and Gorgui Dieng
Timberwolves get: Buddy Hield, Iman Shumpert, Zach Randolph, and Ben McLemore
The Sacramento Kings have been in rumors with the intention to get involved in Jimmy Butler trade talks. However, the Kings aren’t trying to get involved for Butler. Sacramento is trying to get involved to take on salary cap in hopes of gaining extra draft picks. So, this is another trade that is not the most likely to happen. However, getting Jimmy Butler would quicken Sacramento’s rebuild, even if he was there for just one season. For the Timberwolves, Buddy Hield is a solid future piece that drills threes. The ability to get off Dieng’s contract while taking on three expiring contracts is also a win for Minnesota.
Los Angeles Lakers
Lakers get: Jimmy Butler
Timberwolves get: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Lonzo Ball
Off the bat, this trade can’t happen until January. Since KCP was signed by the Lakers over the summer, he is ineligible to be traded until January 15th. But, if Butler is still with the Wolves come January, this trade could make some sense for both sides. For the Lakers, pairing Butler with LeBron James would be an obvious choice. Butler is the ideal second option on a championship-caliber team. In Minnesota’s case, getting an expiring contract in KCP, that they can re-sign if they would like, and a young point guard in Lonzo Ball would be a solid return around the deadline. I am a firm believer in Lonzo Ball. So much so that I don’t know if Magic Johnson would do this trade at the deadline. Either way, this trade makes sense for both parties if Butler is still in Minnesota as the deadline nears.
Los Angeles Clippers
Clippers get: Jimmy Butler
Timberwolves get: Tobias Harris and Milos Teodosic
The Los Angeles Clippers were one of Jimmy Butler’s initial preferred trade destinations. So, if Butler was traded to the Clippers, there would be a great chance that he would re-sign with the team over the summer. For Minnesota, getting Tobias Harris would be golden for the franchise. Coming off a breakout season that saw Harris average 18.6 points and 5.5 rebounds per game, Harris could slide into the hole left by Jimmy Butler. In addition, Harris is a free agent at the end of the season, so Minnesota would have a chance to ink him to a long-term extension. Teodosic fills in for the money, but is a serviceable backup point guard. With Minnesota already having more than enough point guards, Teodosic could be re-routed in another trade.
Suns get: Jimmy Butler and Gorgui Dieng
Timberwolves get: T.J. Warren, Tyson Chandler, and Troy Daniels
The Phoenix Suns are an aggressive team, there is no doubt about it. After firing a good chunk of their front office, speculation is that the team wanted to be more aggressive on the trade front. What gets more aggressive than acquiring one of the best wings in the NBA? The Suns would create a great partnering between Butler and Booker that would have the perfect mix of defense and offense. Minnesota would also get some valuable pieces back in the deal. T.J. Warren is a great forward that can put the ball in the basket. While it may be tough to pair Warren and Andrew Wiggins together because of the lack of three-point shooting, there is little doubt about Warren’s scoring ability. In addition, Troy Daniels would provide the Wolves with the three-point shooting that I have talked so much about in this article. Finally, Tyson Chandler would slide in as the team’s backup center with Dieng on his way to Phoenix. If the Suns really want to get aggressive, a move for Jimmy Butler would be bold, but possible.
Mavericks get: Jimmy Butler
Timberwolves get: Wes Matthews and Dennis Smith Jr.
It’s hard to see the Mavericks moving on from Dennis Smith Jr. in just his second season in the NBA. Smith Jr. had a great rookie season averaging 15.2 points and 5.2 assists per game. The Timberwolves would be getting their point guard for the future. With Wes Matthews, the Timberwolves get a great three and D player with the ability to start or come off the bench. For Dallas, they get their star to pair with Luka Doncic and company. A Dallas lineup of Doncic, Butler, Barnes, Dirk, and DeAndre Jordan could do some damage, even in the Western Conference. Even though it may not look like a good move to trade Dennis Smith Jr., there are a number of great upsides to take the risk if you are the Mavericks.
Rockets get: Jimmy Butler
Timberwolves get: Eric Gordon and P.J. Tucker
This is the trade idea that has been floating around Rockets Twitter for weeks. Rocket fans are excited of the possibility of adding Butler to a core of Harden, CP3, Capela, and that Carmelo fellow. If the reports are true that the Rockets are holding back because of their reluctance to include Tucker in the trade, they need to bite the bullet. Tucker is a very valuable player for Houston, but Jimmy Butler does everything Tucker does at a way higher level. It may be tough for Houston to move on from two of their most valuable role players, but this is Jimmy Butler we are talking about. The NBA is a star-oriented league and adding Butler puts Houston even closer to the Warriors. For Minnesota, it may not be the sexiest trade, but Tom Thibodeau wants to win now. This would be a trade for the present. Gordon and Tucker would come in, provide the toughness that Thibs is looking for, and keep Minnesota in the playoff race this season.
New Orleans Pelicans
Pelicans get: Jimmy Butler
Timberwolves get: Wes Johnson, Nikola Mirotic, and a first-round pick
Should the New Orleans Pelicans be worried about Anthony Davis leaving in the future? If so, it’s time to make a move to convince him to stay in New Orleans. Adding Jimmy Butler to the roster, in my opinion, bolts New Orleans into the three spot in the Western Conference. With a lineup of Jrue Holiday, Jimmy Butler, Solomon Hill, Julius Randle, and Anthony Davis, there is no saying how much damage the Pelicans could do in the West. After trading for DeMarcus Cousins two seasons ago, it’s clear the Pelicans are willing to take risks to keep Davis happy. For Minnesota, the main return is Nikola Mirotic and the first-round pick. Mirotic is great at stretching the floor, and he played for Thibodeau in Chicago. The first-round pick lets the Wolves continue to add cheap youth to their roster, something they will need to do because of their salary cap. Finally, Wes Johnson is a filler that can slot in and provide wing depth if needed, but he is an expiring contract. If there is a secret team that nobody sees trading for Jimmy Butler, it could be New Orleans, based off the potential rewards for the Pelicans.
San Antonio Spurs
Spurs get: Jimmy Butler
Timberwolves get: LaMarcus Aldridge
Once again, mark the San Antonio Spurs as one of the most unlikely trade destinations for Butler. With Lonnie Walker IV and Dejounte Murray being injured, it would be hard to see either one included in a trade. That leaves LaMarcus Aldridge. Aldridge thrived in San Antonio as the main option with Kawhi out last season. Getting Aldridge to pair next to Towns would be a great offensive frontcourt for Minnesota. For San Antonio, getting Jimmy Butler allows the Spurs to add on to the next generation of Spurs players. Butler would be great with Popovich, but the fit next to DeRozan would be tough. Neither DeRozan or Butler are great three-point shooters, which could complicate spacing. However, if there is anything to know about the Spurs, it’s that they will figure it out. If they get talent in the building, the Spurs will get the best out of those players and make it work. It’s not a likely trade, but is an interesting proposition for both sides.
Grizzlies get: Jimmy Butler and Gorgui Dieng
Timberwolves get: Mike Conley and Garrett Temple
The Memphis Grizzlies are ready to put their name back in the playoff conversation in the Western Conference. A season ago, Memphis sustained too many injuries, and they wound up with the fourth pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. This season, Memphis could be back to playing grind it out basketball to get some wins. Jimmy Butler is the ideal player for the type of basketball Memphis plays. Butler would fit in great to their defense-oriented culture. The Timberwolves would be getting a proven player back in the deal with Mike Conley. Coming off a season that saw Conley injured, he will be looking to regain his form this season and get back to being one of the top point guards in the NBA. However, there is risk involved for the Timberwolves. Conley is on a massive contract. Conley still has three years at $30M a season remaining on his deal. That would mean the Timberwolves would be locked into paying Towns, Conley, and Wiggins max money for the next handful of seasons. There isn’t a great match between Memphis and Minnesota when it comes to Jimmy Butler, but if talks ever happened, this would be the kind of deal to expect.
Nuggets get: Jimmy Butler
Timberwolves get: Gary Harris and a first-round pick
The Nuggets always seem to be a sleeper team when star players are mentioned in trade talks and for good measure. The Nuggets have the assets to pull off a trade for Jimmy Butler. With guys like Jamal Murray and Gary Harris, there is enough value in those guys to entice Minnesota. In fact, I think Minnesota would be happy with just one of them and a pick. Gary Harris averaged a career-high 17.5 points per game last season on 39.6% shooting from three. At just 24 years old, Harris is still developing and could become one of the top shooting guards in the NBA before it’s said and done. For Denver, they get another veteran to add to their lineup and a good one at that. Butler would provide the Nuggets with defensive intensity, something Denver lacks. In addition, Butler’s ability to impact games at the end would help Denver close games in crucial situations. I don’t want to get ahead of myself, but I think the Denver Nuggets have a better chance at acquiring Jimmy Butler than some may think.
Jazz get: Jimmy Butler
Timberwolves get: Joe Ingles and Jae Crowder
There is little chance that the Utah Jazz want to move anyone with value on their team. The chemistry and togetherness of Utah is part of the reason they were so successful last season. But, since the article is about trades the Timberwolves would do, getting Joe Ingles and Jae Crowder would allow Wolves fans to be happy with the trade package. Ingles is a sniper from three. In addition to shooting 44% from three last season, Ingles is a great distributor. For someone that is considered a forward in the NBA, averaging 4.8 assists per game last season is no joke. Along with Ingles, Jae Crowder would give the Timberwolves a tough-minded defender. Crowder is a fierce defender, something Tom Thibodeau would love. Finally, even though Crowder and Thibodeau got into some arguing last season, I think they could both move on.
Oklahoma City Thunder
No logical match. There doesn’t appear to be a great trade match between the Thunder and Timberwolves. The Thunder aren’t parting with George, Westbrook, or Adams, which makes a package undesirable for Minnesota. Without loading a trade with picks and young talent, something the Thunder don’t have a lot of, there is no clear path to a trade between Minnesota and Oklahoma City.
Portland Trail Blazers
Blazers get: Jimmy Butler and Justin Patton
Timberwolves get: C.J. McCollum
What to the Blazers have to lose? The Lillard and McCollum pairing hasn’t made noise in the playoffs yet, so why expect that to change? The Blazers could take a chance on Butler and hope it pays off come playoff time. Butler is a player that wins games for your team, and he does it on both ends of the court. For Minnesota, this would be the ideal return. To get a player of McCollum’s caliber in a trade for Butler would be everything Minnesota could ask for. McCollum would come in and keep the Timberwolves in the playoff picture now and in the future. For both teams, this seems like a blockbuster trade that should happen, but won’t.