Another superstar could be available this offseason as Jimmy Butler has reportedly requested a trade. Should the Spurs make a move for him?
The Spurs have already made one blockbuster trade this offseason as they sent a disgruntled Kawhi Leonard to Toronto after Kawhi demanded to be moved.
The Minnesota Timberwolves find themselves in a similar situation after Jimmy Butler reportedly requested a trade during his recent meeting with Tom Thibodeau in Los Angeles.
Jimmy Butler has requested a trade from the Minnesota Timberwolves, league sources tell me and @JonKrawczynski. Butler has given Minnesota a list of one-to-three teams with whom he's open to signing extension, in anticipation of trade.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) September 19, 2018
Butler is likely to decline the player option on his current contract to become a free agent in 2019, so whoever makes a move for him would either need to re-sign him or accept that he is a one-year rental.
The Spurs showed the world that they are in “win now” mode when they acquired DeMar DeRozan in the Kawhi trade. With LaMarcus Aldridge and DeRozan in the prime of their careers, Gregg Popovich wants to make another postseason push during what could be his final years in San Antonio.
The addition of Jimmy Butler would give the Spurs a formidable trio of All-NBA players in their prime and one of the most talented rosters in the league. Even though Butler, DeRozan and Aldridge do most of their damage in the midrange, Popovich would love to have a roster with that type of talent once again.
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Butler’s intensity on the defensive end is another trait that Popovich desires in his players, and Pop has worked with him for the past couple of years on Team USA.
Butler’s contract situation would probably not be a deterrent for San Antonio as their competitive window is right here and now with their current crop of players, and they feel confident that they could sell him on the Spurs’ winning culture in contract negotiations.
Does San Antonio have the assets to get a deal done?
The first round pick that the Spurs acquired from Toronto is top-20 protected, but that should come to San Antonio if the Raptors are a top team in the East like they are projected to be.
The Spurs’ pick would also likely be in the 20’s, so San Antonio could package each of those picks in a deal with the Wolves.
San Antonio could send Pau Gasol to Minnesota to make the salaries match, according to ESPN’s trade machine, and that would reunite Thibodeau with one of his former Bulls players that he seems keen on acquiring.
In this potential trade, the Wolves would get two first round picks to help build around Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins, and they would receive a solid veteran that can help them win this year.
If Minnesota prefers Jakob Poeltl, Lonnie Walker, or Dejounte Murray over one or both of the Spurs’ draft picks, San Antonio could make that work as well.
If the Wolves accept, the Spurs would be able to build a big three for the first time since the prime years of Duncan, Parker, and Ginobili that could compete with the top teams in the Western Conference.
When I first saw the Jimmy Butler news, I didn’t think the Spurs would be able to make a legitimate trade offer. But upon further review, I believe San Antonio can give Minnesota a deal that would compete with any other offer they receive for a superstar entering the final year of his contract.
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Will Gregg Popovich make another huge trade to bolster his championship chances? All we can say for now is that he may have the ammunition to do so.