MINNEAPOLIS, MN – APRIL 11: (L-R) Karl-Anthony Towns #32, Jeff Teague #0 and Jimmy Butler #23 of the Minnesota Timberwolves celebrate winning the game against the Denver Nuggets on April 11, 2018 at the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Timberwolves defeated the Nuggets 112-106. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Chicago got a trio of young players for trading Butler.
Minnesota Timberwolves played and won its preseason game against Golden State Warriors without All Star Forward Jimmy Butler.

The former Chicago Bulls man’s absence was a known fact prior to the game since news of his intent to abstain from the team was well documented. Butler is in the midst of a tough relationship with his employers Minnesota Timberwolves over a strong desire to move from the team. Per reports, he has expressed interest in a trade to New York Knicks, Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Clippers.

However, none of the above mentioned teams have intriguing pieces to pique Minnesota’s interest in a trade deal. Butler’s former side got a number of them when it cashed in on a Timberwolves trade that sent Kris Dunn, Zach LaVine and 2017 NBA Draft Number seven pick-Lauri Markannen for Butler.

Just a season on and a ground breaking trip to the postseason, Butler wants out of Minnesota but faces a tough challenge getting the right trade partner. That at the moment looks like Miami Heat since the South Bay side has a boatload of younger Guards on long term contracts.

Butler’s talent is undoubted and this assertion is shared by his peers as Golden State Warriors Klay Thompson pointed out saying Butler can turn a team into a contender. However, there are limits to what Butler can do and in that regard; he should be careful how far he pushes his intent on leaving.

After guiding Minnesota to its first playoffs since 2004 last season, Minnesota wants a king’s ransom to facilitate a trade. That could mean Butler’s next team could be devoid of the necessary assets to give him enough support to be in contention for the NBA title.

In recent seasons, players in Butler’s position have pushed for trades heading to the final year of their contracts and ended up falling further away from contention than before. New Houston Rockets Forward Carmelo Anthony pushed for a trade to New York Knicks at a time a few months of waiting would have granted the chance to sign with the Knicks as a free agent.

That mega trade involved teams like Philadelphia Sixers like Andre Iguodala and Chauncey Billups. Billups ended up alongside Anthony in New York while Sixers Guard Iguodala ended up in Denver Nuggets. Despite the acquisition of seasoned pros and a former NBA title winner in Billups, the Knicks sacrificed draft picks and second unit players to give the starting unit support. Years later, Anthony admitted his haste to see the trade through was ill advised and it cost the side the chance to really contend even in the easier Eastern Conference.


Knicks best run with Anthony was a second round playoff appearance against Atlanta Hawks. Reeling from that trade and extending his contract with New York has affected Anthony’s stock in the league as an All Star scorer who excels putting the ball through the hoop. From all indications, Anthony will start from Houston’s bench this season; an idea he loathed but has little choice than accept it to remain on a contending team’s roster.

Left to Right: Howard, Nash, Bryant

Los Angeles Lakers are the talk of the league after signing LeBron James. However, prior to LeBron’s move, Dwight Howard held that honour after forcing a trade from Orlando Magic. The deal got Howard to play with Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash while relocating several players as a result. Andrew Bynum got moved to Philadelphia Sixers and Orlando became Nikola Vucevic and Arron Afflalo’s new home after the trade.

Conversely, the move failed to materialize as Howard never really recovered from a back injury he sustained before the trade and his happy go attitude never meshed with Kobe Bryant’s demanding style. At the tail end of his career, Nash spent more time on the treatment table than the court. Howard has since played on three teams in six seasons, got bought out by Brooklyn Nets and will play this season for Washington Wizards; his fourth in seven seasons and yet to be named an All Star since 2014.

The aforementioned examples represent players who were on top of their game and the league who forced trades that ended up derailing their careers far from what they promised prior to the trade. Jimmy Butler could be the next to suffer a similar fate that could move him from a multiple All Star player and potential NBA Champion to frustrated figure who missed out on a good situation to land an NBA title.

By Yaw Adjei-Mintah
@YawMintYM on Twitter


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