The odds of Jimmy Butler being a Milwaukee Buck went up substantially today. That isn’t to say the Bucks have become the favorite to land him or even a realistic chance, but they went up! When the star requested a trade shortly before training camps are set to start up for the NBA season. Shortly after the reports of his trade request got out, it was released that his three preferred destinations did not include Milwaukee. They were the Clippers, Knicks, and Nets, all big markets, with little else going for them at this point. Now the pessimist in me says call it, there is no chance it will happen. The realist in me says the same thing, the Bucks just don’t seem to have a chance. The optimist says: Paul George, Kawhi Leonard and Kyrie Irving all had preferred destinations and ended up elsewhere. The dreamer in me can’t wait to walk through the doors of the Fiserv Forum and see Jimmy, Khash, and Giannis hooping for our Milwaukee Bucks. So what would a package look like for Jimmy Butler?
Timberwolves trade: Jimmy Butler
Bucks trade: Malcolm Brogdon, Thon Maker, future first round pick and John Henson
As a result of the Bucks needing to match Butler’s salary they must trade one of their bigger contract to get him. Brogdon is the centerpiece of this deal, he can start for the Wolves next to Teague or be a primary role player off the bench. The Wolves would have to pay him to keep him around after this season, but would hold his restricted free agent rights. Thon Maker represents a potential upside play, though his upside is limited on a team that has an All-NBA center for the foreseeable future. Henson is in to make salaries work, but could give them good minutes if they have any issues at center. The future pick is sweetener, the pick is unprotected and would convey two years after the Bucks pick debt to Phoenix is finally conveyed. (Thanks Stepien Rule)
This deal is far from a windfall for the Timberwolves, but by 2022 or whenever the pick conveys there is a chance that it is pretty good. I’m not sold that any team offers a player better than Brogdon and if the Wolves are trying to win now, what good does someone like Frank Ntilikina do. I don’t believe the Knicks would offer Knox and I’m not sure the Nets would have any interest in being good this season or giving up any future assets.The Clippers are a bit more of a wild card, if they want to keep being a fringe playoff team, maybe they give up something promising.
The easiest trade proposal to make would be something like Middleton + Snell for Butler (which does work contract wise), well this move is almost definitely an upgrade, you would need a guarantee from Butler on an extension to even consider it. Middleton is no lock to sign an extension, but he seemingly loves being a Buck and is already here. You only give up Middleton for a guy you know is better and will be around for awhile, otherwise you risk ending up in a worse scenario. Plus the Bucks only become slightly better if they improve on their second best player, adding Butler without giving up Middleton means a marked improvement as you add a top 20 player while giving up a fringe top 100 guy in Brogdon and other future assets.
In terms of fit Butler would start at the shooting guard between Middleton and Bledsoe (at least for one season, before Bledsoe becomes a cap casualty), this would give the Bucks potentially the most dynamic offense in the East. Also Butler on his best day is an All-Defense contender and could potentially help the Bucks establish one of the best defensive teams in the league. Now the fit is far from perfect, there is only one basketball, and ideally you’d start a less talented point guard who could play off ball a bit better than Bledsoe, but this is what happens with talent laden teams. Guys would have to make concessions and adaptations to playing without the ball in their hands.
Will this happen? Almost certainly not, but few people predict the outcomes of these disgruntled stars. Butler has connections to the city and the Bucks can offer something none of his preferred teams can, and that is playing alongside a top 10 NBA player just entering his prime. As well as winning, for as much crap as we Bucks fans give the Bucks they were a better NBA team than any of those three last season, and project to be markedly better than those teams this season. The Bucks only realistic chance is if the Timberwolves place high value on Brogdon, or if Butler’s personality impacts his value significantly, either way crazier things have happened in this league.
Our featured image comes courtesy of Rohan Katti, you can find him on twitter @rkattijr)