For the second straight season, the NBA World has been hit with another player-team impasse that has got a lot of people impatient for the start of the new season.

Prior to the 2017-2018 season, Cleveland Cavaliers Point Guard Kyrie Irving demanded a trade that shocked the league. Learning of Irving’s move away from the team he helped bring a long awaited championship was surprising considering it was right in the middle of the team’s best run in its history and only a season separated from the title winning campaign in 2016.

Kawhi Leonard somewhat fits the bill here as his purported disinterest in San Antonio Spurs forced team management to trade him for DeMar DeRozan without necessarily demanding a trade. Players forcing trades has become quite common in the league in recent years with Carmelo Anthony and Dwight Howard headlining the list.

Jimmy Butler has just joined the group after reports state the former Chicago Bulls Shooting Guard/Small Forward has demanded to be traded from Minnesota Timberwolves. Irving wanted San Antonio or Miami Heat and Kawhi wanted Los Angeles Clippers or Lakers and Butler wants Brooklyn Nets, New York Knicks or Los Angeles Clippers.


This has rocked Minnesota’s boat heading to training camp which starts on Tuesday. After making the playoffs for the first time since 2005, the Timberwolves should be looking forward to the 2018-2019 season with a ton of optimism.

Rather it is enveloped in doubt as Karl-Anthony Towns believes news regarding Butler’s exit are “fake”, Coach Tom Thibodeau frets about the idea of missing out on perhaps his most important player and Andrew Wiggins defending a lot more on Instagram than on the court. Minnesota has two talented young stars in Towns and Wiggins, a top Coach and in Butler, a two way star who knows how to win.

Thibodeau (Left) and Butler

But the most integral member of the group-Butler- wants out apparently before he becomes a free agent eligible to sign with any team with Minnesota getting nothing in return. The thought of losing Butler for nothing is not a pleasing scenario and teams normally in for a trade for young players or draft picks in return. However, the listed destinations in New York and Los Angeles are not attractive targets Minnesota should trade with.


News of several teams interested in Butler is a smoke screen to cover for the limited number of teams that actually are interested in making a trade. Brooklyn, Clippers and Knicks represent the most feasible trade partners as things stand and Timberwolves should walk away. Minnesota should keep Butler through next season and risk losing him for nothing knowing it is the only side that can give a then 30 year old a five year, $190 million contract.

Should Butler walk away-seeking a bigger market to play in-Timberwolves can wager its future on further development from Wiggins and Towns to compete several years in the future. The major reason Minnesota must back out of a trade package with Nets, Knicks and Clippers is mainly the lack of attractive assets. Neither member of the trio boasts a talent worthy of a Butler sacrifice.


Knicks have one in Kristaps Porzingis but his availability is off the discussion table not forgetting concern over his play after sustaining a major ACL injury. The Clippers potential free agent collection of Milos Teodosic, Tobias Harris, Marcin Gortat and Patrick Beverley is not inspiring. New York’s roster is filled with high draft picks whose NBA careers have been average; Trey Burke, Noah Vonleh, Mario Hezonja, Emmanuel Mudiay and Frank Ntilikina are yet to show why their names were called early on draft night.

Feb 3, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie (8) advances the ball during the third quarter against the Indiana Pacers at Barclays Center. Indiana Pacers won 106-97. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Brooklyn’s best players worthy in a Butler trade are D’Angelo Russell, Caris LeVert, Jarrett Allen and Spencer Dinwiddie. Boston Celtics are not likely to be among teams interested in trading for Butler or even signing him after next season as a free agent due to the abundance of younger wings on the roster. Had Boston been interested, Minnesota could have cashed in as the Celtics are loaded with cheap contracts on talented younger players. In Jaylen Brown, Terry Rozier and Marcus Smart, Timberwolves would have had a deeply talented group to partner Towns and Wiggins.

Timberwolves need Butler for another playoff run even if it cost them Jimmy’s service once the campaign ends. With two playoff runs, Towns and Wiggins will be equipped enough know how to lead the franchise for years to come.

By Yaw Adjei-Mintah
@YawMintYM on Twitter


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here