Tensions in Minnesota have come to their zenith. In signing Luol Deng, Tom Thibodeau is a ponytailed stallion (Joakim Noah) away from recreating the 2013 Bulls. Their star player, Jimmy Butler, is evidently unhappy. He has been vocal on record of his displeasure of the work ethic of Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns.
Due to his impending free agency in 2019 (assuming Butler declines his payer option) and of course, a trade request, Minnesota will want to consider all of their options regarding the star wing.
As it stands, the Wolves project to enter free agency with $91M in cap space. However, this number could fluctuate from $53M all the way up to $133M. That $91M number assumes that Butler and Jeff Teague will opt into their player options, both worth around $20M apiece. Karl-Anthony Towns is also due for a max contract.
If they re-sign Butler and Towns to max deals, Teague will likely opt-in. However, if the Wolves to go in a different direction and build around their two young stars, they could look to move Butler as opposed to doing it for nothing.
If they want to move Butler, they’d be wise to do it now. If the Wolves are bad, his value will only decline. This Minnesota team was a top-five seed in the West last season with Butler but are a second-tier team in the West at their absolute peak.
A team trading for Butler would likely need to need to meet one of these two criteria: a team one piece away from contention (although contention is a murky subject in the current NBA), or a team with the cap space and roster to be confident in their ability to resign Butler long-term. Let’s dive into five teams that could trade for Butler.
Next Up: Team 5