Jimmy Butler wants out of Minnesota and the New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets are on the All-Star’s short list of preferences.
Jimmy Butler is fed up with the Minnesota Timberwolves after one season. Shams Charania and Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic are reporting that Butler is asking for a trade and he gave the Timberwolves a shortlist of teams he is willing to sign an extension with.
The New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets were long thought to be possibilities to sign Butler due to the fact that both teams will have the cap space to sign a max free agent next offseason. But now, each team is linked to Butler for more concrete reasons.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the Knicks and Nets (along with the Clippers) are on Butler’s shortlist of teams that he is open to signing an extension with.
The Knicks have already stated unequivocally that they will not trade assets — young players or draft picks — for a player that they can go sign later on without giving anything up. This leads us to believe that the Knicks are out on the Jimmy Butler sweepstakes for now.
That brings us across the East River to Brooklyn. A trade for Butler makes much more sense for the Nets than it does for the Knicks. Brooklyn isn’t tanking and they’re looking to take another step forward towards the playoffs. Right now, they have an outside chance at making the playoffs, but they are far from a lock. With Butler leading the squad, the Nets would be a sure-fire playoff team.
Additionally, the Nets have the cap space to sign two max free agents next season. The nightmare scenario for Sean Marks and Brooklyn is that they can’t persuade one max free agent, let alone two. By trading for Butler and signing him to an extension, they are guaranteeing that they have at least one star to lead them into the future.
Not to mention, Butler and Kyrie Irving reportedly want to play together and the Nets are one of the few teams that have the space to make it happen.
The Nets have a number of young assets that could entice the Timberwolves. It’s rare that teams ever receive equal compensation when trading a star. If Butler is deadset on skipping town for greener pastures, perhaps the Nets could take advantage of the opportunity.
This story is developing rapidly and things can change at any moment. But at this point, it looks like the Nets could be major players for Butler while the Knicks plan to sit this bidding war out.