Over the past year, we have seen Paul George, Kyrie Irving and Kawhi Leonard pull power moves and demand trades from their respective franchises. Now, it looks like Jimmy Butler could possibly be doing the same with Minnesota.
According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, Butler has begun to seriously contemplate his future as a member of the Timberwolves. This meeting will be taking place on Monday with head coach Tom Thibodeau.
Butler meets with President/head coach Tom Thibodeau and Minnesota officials this week. Uncertainty has surrounded Butler and the team as the All-Star enters contract year. https://t.co/mMiVLtTT0O— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) September 15, 2018
As we all know, the Suns balked at including Josh Jackson in trade discussions for Irving. Then, no real traction on the Leonard front this past July. It wouldn’t shock me if the Suns said thanks but no thanks once more if Butler pulls a similar move next week, but could that answer be different this time around?
The Suns already have a glut of wings with Jackson and T.J. Warren, but they are also showing how much they want to improve this year by bringing in veterans like Trevor Ariza and Ryan Anderson into the fold. Also, their aggressive play for Mikal Bridges, regarded by many as the most NBA-ready prospect, was a win-now move with a long term vision.
Butler’s case is interesting, though. He will be an unrestricted free agent next year, so this would be forall intents and purposes a rental-type acquisition. If he demands a trade, Minnesota will immediately lose tons of leverage in shipping him out which helps a team like Phoenix. However, that means many others will step up to the plate in wanting to reel in someone of Butler’s quality.
Phoenix would be up against the likes of Los Angeles (Lakers and Clippers), New York, Denver and Philadelphia if Butler does end up hitting the trade block. With that being said, Jackson would likely have to be the main piece in any conversations if they went after once again another wing. Something like Jackson, Dragan Bender, Darrell Arthur and Suns 2019 1st round pick for Butler works under the salary cap.
The Suns finally cashing in some of their young talent and future draft picks to bring in an All-Star might be approaching soon. Phoenix has their two young building blocks in Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton, now they need that established third piece to cap it all off. If they are serious about pushing for the playoffs, which Booker anxiously wants to be a part of, then they would be inclined to go after Butler.
Rolling out a starting unit featuring Shaquille Harrison (maybe a bigger name once the trade deadline approaches), Booker, Butler, Ariza and Ayton would immediately contend for one of the final playoff spots in the Western Conference. It’s certainly a scenario General Manager Ryan McDonough has to be mulling over, especially if Butler lights the fire on this situation by forcing his way out.
What should the Suns do? If the third All-Star in the past year requests a trade, should they pass or finally go all in? Let us know in the comments section below as I’m now reminded the news cycle never stops in this league.