Where will Jimmy Butler land next? Let's handicap his potential destinations
Where will Jimmy Butler land next? Let's handicap his potential destinations
We examine teams' odds to trade for Jimmy Butler, and also check in on what his former team, the Bulls, must be thinking about his demand to be traded from the Timberwolves.
The 2018 NBA offseason has seen its share of bombshells. LeBron James to the Los Angeles Lakers. Paul George re-signing with the Oklahoma City Thunder. DeMarcus Cousins to the Golden State Warriors. Kawhi Leonard to the Toronto Raptors. Apparently, Jimmy Butler wanted to get in on the fun before training camp opens next week, because the former Bulls star [has requested a trade](https://www.betchicago.com/timberwolves-jimmy-butler-trade-request) from the Minnesota Timberwolves. Butler turned down a four-year, $110 million contract extension earlier this summer ([The Athletic reports](https://theathletic.com/534624/2018/09/19/sources-jimmy-butler-requests-trade-from-timberwolves/) he wanted a larger renegotiation and extension), and Tuesday he let Wolves president and head coach Tom Thibodeau know he wouldn't sign a long-term extension next summer and wants a trade before camp opens. [ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reports](http://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/24733577/jimmy-butler-minnesota-timberwolves-seeking-trade-brooklyn-nets-la-clippers-new-york-knicks) Butler has a list of three preferred destinations -- the Los Angeles Clippers, New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets, with the Clippers his first choice, followed by the Knicks. Thibodeau is reportedly hesitant to trade his star player, who's hoping to secure a five-year deal in the $190 million range next summer. But keeping around an unhappy Butler for a potentially ill-fated playoff run in a loaded Western Conference is a recipe for disaster. There have been plenty of rumblings about chemistry issues with Karl-Anthony Towns (who needs his own extension) and Andrew Wiggins (who just got a massive extension), and while those problems supposedly aren't the reasons for the trade request, the drama hanging over the team would be problematic. Thibodeau needs to bite the bullet and make a trade as soon as possible, turning the future over to Towns in the process. This doesn't mean Thibs has to trade Butler before media day, which is Monday, but getting a deal done quickly is imperative. Minnesota is still the favorite to have Butler on its roster when the season begins ([+150 at Bovada](https://www.bovada.lv/sports/basketball/nba-specials)), but expect these odds to move over the next few days. Thibodeau needs to focus on getting the best trade possible. That deal could be consummated with one of Butler's preferred teams, but perhaps another team swoops in with an offer he can't refuse. Let's take a look at teams' odds to land Butler posted on Bovada, and then check in on what his former team, the Bulls, must be thinking about these developments after they traded him to Minnesota last summer. ### Brooklyn Nets (+300) The Nets have been awful for years, but they've been focusing on rebuilding their asset base and changing their culture with head coach Kenny Atkinson at the helm. Brooklyn is reportedly third in Butler's preferred pecking order, but he's intrigued by the team's ability to go after another star next summer to pair with the four-time All-Star. [The Athletic's Shams Charania says](https://theathletic.com/535213/2018/09/19/what-led-to-jimmy-butlers-trade-request-to-the-timberwolves-and-the-possible-trade-scenarios-ahead/) the Nets "appear motivated" on Butler, which makes sense given their current roster lacks a legitimate star. But do they have anything Thibs wants? Brooklyn has some intriguing young players in D'Angelo Russell, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Jarrett Allen and Caris LeVert, among others. They also have some larger contracts that could be used to help match salaries, plus an extra first-round draft pick just acquired from the Denver Nuggets. The Nets shouldn't hesitate to make a strong play for Butler, but Minnesota may not love what's on the table. ### Los Angeles Clippers (+350) As mentioned, the Clippers are reportedly Butler's preferred choice. He loves Los Angeles and could team up with another star there. Woj reports the Clippers "are emerging as a front-runner" for Leonard, and a Butler-Leonard pairing on the wing would be pretty devastating. Like the Nets, Shams says the Clippers are motivated to make a deal. L.A. doesn't have much draft capital, but there's an abundance of potential players that could be offered: <a href="https://twitter.com/BobbyMarks42/status/1042571084636344321" class="embedly-card" data-card-width="100%" data-card-controls="1">Embedded content: https://twitter.com/BobbyMarks42/status/1042571084636344321</a> The Clippers may be hesitant to make a huge offer if they think they can just sign Butler outright next summer, but they may also want to get him on board and then have him recruit another star. ### New York Knicks (+375) The Knicks reportedly have been firm in their resolve not to trade assets for a player they could sign outright next summer. Could they be enticed by a trade for Butler, perhaps with an eye on recruiting somebody like Kyrie Irving after the season? New York isn't trading the rehabbing Kristaps Porzingis, but rookie Kevin Knox and second-year guard Frank Ntilikina could be on the table. If Thibs is looking for established talent, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Courtney Lee have sizable contracts on the wing. And don't forget about Joakim Noah! Replace one former Bull with another! I'm only half joking. The Knicks have experience making a move like this when they traded for Carmelo Anthony, which brought some success but more failure. With that in mind, New York may prefer to be patient and make its pitch next summer. ### Philadelphia 76ers (+800) The Sixers struck out in their attempts for another star this summer, and they could put together a nice package for Butler. Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons aren't going anywhere, but players like Dario Saric, Robert Covington and Markelle Fultz could be available. However, Philly may not want to make a big offer unless Butler shows a willingness to stay for the long haul. The Sixers may also think twice about bringing in Butler to a team with young stars in Embiid and Simmons, given Butler's clashes with young talent. Philly should think about a trade, but it feels like a long shot at this point. ### Los Angeles Lakers (+900) Butler loves L.A., but LeBron James' decision to join the Lakers reportedly [turned Jimmy off to the situation](https://clutchpoints.com/lakers-news-lebron-james-decision-join-los-angeles-made-them-less-appealing-jimmy-butler/). The Lakers aren't in position to make a trade right now anyway: <a href="https://twitter.com/EricPincus/status/1042488778932142080" class="embedly-card" data-card-width="100%" data-card-controls="0">Embedded content: https://twitter.com/EricPincus/status/1042488778932142080</a> Don't expect this to happen. ### Others The Miami Heat are reportedly interested in Butler and have a mix of young/old players to offer, but they aren't on the board at Bovada. Neither are the Raptors, though they could make a big play to pair Butler and Leonard and then try to entice them to stay. The Boston Celtics are +1100 and have plenty of assets, but they don't need Butler. They're already stacked, and Butler could disrupt their chemistry. The Warriors are +3300 ... and of course this isn't happening. ### The Chicago Bulls' Situation The Bulls aren't getting Butler back, and they have to be feeling pretty good about their decision to trade him last summer. They didn't envision a path to greatness with Butler on the roster and decided to embark on a new path with young talent. That trade brought Lauri Markkanen, Zach LaVine and Kris Dunn to Chicago. While Butler's trade request makes it seem the Bulls are the winners of this deal, we need to see more from Chicago's rebuilding project before declaring anything definitive. Markkanen looks like a true gem and franchise cornerstone, and he alone could make the trade worth it. He still has to take those next steps, though, and there are concerns about him getting marginalized on the current roster. The jury is also still out on LaVine and Dunn. LaVine got a fat contract after a torn ACL and a brutal showing in his return from that injury. Dunn is entering a crucial third season after an up-and-down second campaign. I'm confident in Markkanen being the real deal, but the confidence isn't there yet with LaVine and Dunn. If these players do form the core of the next great Bulls team, then we can declare the Butler trade a monster win for Chicago. But there's still the possibility that this rebuild goes nowhere, resulting in a whole new rebuild and potentially a new front office.2018-09-20T13:28:41.384Z2018-09-20T09:29-04:00