Jimmy Butler, disgruntled Minnesota Timberwolves superstar, has requested a trade, after expressing frustration with young T-Wolves stars, Karl Anthony-Towns and Andrew Wiggins.
Now that the trade rumours are flying all over the place regarding Jimmy to the Toronto Raptors, I'm going to take a look at what that trade would look like and how it would play out.
What's in It for the Raptors
The first and most important thing the Raptors will want to consider when thinking about this potential trade, is Butler's attitude. It's all well and good for him to blame his misgivings with Minnesota on the young guys and their lack of effort, but this isn't the first time he's been in this situation.
During the 2016-'17 season, Butler was playing with the Chicago Bulls, the team that drafted him in the summer of 2011. At the time, he was the team's franchise player, and, along with Dwyane Wade, one of their two best players.
Having complaints about head coach, Fred Hoiberg, and the younger players' lack of effort, Wade and Butler both opted to leave the team in the off-season.
Jimmy went to Minnesota, joining former coach Tom Thibodeau, where he went on to average 22.2 points, 4.9 assists, 5.3 rebounds, and 2.0 steals per game.
The main thing the Raptors front office and coaching staff should take away from Butler's history in the league is this: he demands perfection from his teammates, and that's not at all a bad thing.
So, if the Raptors can get a perennial All-Star for relatively cheap, they should at least throw out an offer. Adding another defensive stalwart to the starting lineup next to Kawhi Leonard would, in my opinion, put the Raptors a head above the Celtics in the race to see who gets to lose to the Warriors in the Finals.
What's in It for the Timberwolves
If the Timberwolves go through with a trade of any kind for Jimmy Butler, (which head coach and president of basketball operations, Tom Thibodeau, is steadfastly against) they'll need to give him up for a low return.
Other league GMs smell blood in the water. They know exactly the situation that the T-Wolves are in, and they know that if Butler doesn't get traded, he'll either sit out or play with zero respect and love for the team's other stars. Consequentially, Minnesota's front office, if they choose to trade him, will have to accept a less-than-ideal offer, just as the Spurs did for Kawhi Leonard in July.
Despite how unlikely a trade actually happening is beginning to seem, NBA Twitter is still chalk-full of trade rumours, most of which involve either the Houston Rockets or Toronto Raptors as potential trade partners for the Timberwolves.
The package most oft-seen involving the Raptors includes Serge Ibaka, Delon Wright, and a future second-round pick.
This package is entirely reasonable for both sides, as the Raptors acquire another top-tier two-way player, and the Wolves, in return, get a pick, a skilled rim protector, and a budding point guard with unteachable size and length.
Chances of a Trade
If Thibs decides to trade Jimmy, it won't be to the Raptors.
First of all, he is becoming more and more adamant that he won't trade Jimmy, probably thinking along the lines of:
"I'd rather have a disgruntled veteran All-Star than no veteran All-Star at all."
However, let's say he does decide to make a trade. There will likely be a few more enticing offers on the table than that of the Raptors, particularly from the Knicks, Rockets, and Heat. Unless Masai Ujiri were willing to give up OG Anunoby, Pascal Siakam, or both, other teams will have better odds at trading for Butler.
So, taking all of that in to account, I'd say that there is little to no chance of the Raptors making a trade with the Timberwolves for Jimmy Butler.
*all stats courtesy of Wikipedia