Following days of speculation, Minnesota wing Jimmy Butler has officially told Timberwolves brass that he wants out. According to Adrian Wojnarowski, his three teams of choice are the LA Clippers, New York Knicks and the Brooklyn Nets, with the sole West Coast franchise as his preferred destination.
Minnesota's Jimmy Butler is most determined to find a way to the Los Angeles Clippers, league sources tell ESPN. The appeal of partnering with a second star - the Clippers have two max contract slots available in summer free agency - is an intriguing scenario for him.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) September 20, 2018
However, several NBA writers across the league have suggested that the Portland Trail Blazers should step up with an offer to bring the four-time All Star to the Rose City.
William Lou of The Score likens a deal centered around Butler and Portland guard CJ McCollum to a slightly lesser version of this summer’s blockbuster trade involving Kawhi Leonard and DeMar DeRozan. Butler being Leonard, and McCollum being DeRozan.
Trading a guarantee in McCollum for a gamble in Butler is risky, but that shouldn’t deter the treadmilling Blazers from showing they actually want to be great.
Dime Magazine’s Robby Kalland picks the Blazers as one of six possible destinations for Butler, again highlighting McCollum has the asset coming back to Minnesota. In this deal the Wolves would also throw in the injured Justin Patton.
Butler and Damian Lillard feel more complementary than Lillard and McCollum, given that they are both primarily scorers, and at this point, it’s clear Portland could use to shake things up, much like what we saw in Toronto.
Jared Cowley of KGW8 believes now is the time for Portland President of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey to take a risk.
For the past couple seasons, Olshey has recoiled at the prospect of trading McCollum every time the topic comes up. Which makes sense. But this is the kind of opportunity that should make him soften his stance. Butler is a rare commodity in that he’s an All-Star talent just entering his prime whose skills line up with the Trail Blazers’ most pressing needs.
Bleacher Report’s Eric Pincus also acknowledges that it would be risky for the Blazers to bring in Butler, knowing he could take off in 12 months. However, he believes it would be worth it if they could bring him in with the right package.
A deal might make more sense for the Portland Trail Blazers, who will have a significant payroll next season. Would the T-Wolves take on a multiyear contract like Evan Turner, Moe Harkless or Meyers Leonard for Butler?
Yahoo Sports senior NBA writer Michael Lee also weighs in, naming Portland as one of three non-Butler preferred teams who should be involved.
Jimmy wants Knicks, Nets or Clippers.— Michael Lee (@MrMichaelLee) September 19, 2018
Heat, Blazers or Nuggets should do whatever it takes to get Jimmy on a one-year rental.
Michael Rand from Minneapolis Star Tribune suggests Portland enter a deal as a facilitator, not to necessarily take on Butler but to deliver them CJ McCollum.
Work a three-team deal with one of Butler’s preferred trading partners. If they can get another team involved — one that has a more desirable player to send to the Wolves and also covets the cap space a team such as the Nets could offer via expiring contracts — the pieces might fit and present the Wolves with a better option. Teams such as Portland (CJ McCollum?).
However, Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer doesn’t think the Blazers (and San Antonio for that matter) have what it takes to do a deal.
What would be Portland’s best trade offer for Jimmy Butler? Let us know in the comments.