Jimmy Butler Interested in Signing With Nets


Minnesota Timberwolves Guard Jimmy Butler possibly accelerated his departure from the team Wednesday after asking them to trade him.

Butler listed three preferred destinations to be traded to, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported the New York Knicks, the Los Angeles Clippers and the Brooklyn Nets are the teams Butler would consider signing an extension with.

With big-name players fleeing their situations for bigger markets in recent years, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Butler would rather play in New York City or Los Angeles than Minneapolis, what is surprising is that Butler prefers to be traded to a team without a superstar in place already, and is willing to forge his own path to a championship.

After years of running on the treadmill of mediocrity, the Nets should be encouraged about Butler’s willingness to play for them long-term. Butler naming the Nets as a team he would play for gives them an increased sense of confidence in giving up assets to acquire Butler.

Jimmy Butler could be heading the Nets way.

Butler is set to enter free agency after the 2019 season, so teams outside of his preferred destinations could potentially be weary of trading for him in case he stays true to his word and bolts for LA or New York after the season.

He would immediately become the Nets’ best player and would probably make them a playoff team in the weak eastern conference in 2019, more importantly, it makes the Nets an even more attractive free agent destination for the Summer of 2019, where the Nets can sign an additional max contact player due to the flexibility they’ve maintained with their salary cap.

Butler brings an elite skillset on both offense and defense that would fill a void the Nets have been missing since Joe Johnson left. Butler is a perennial 20 point per game player that can score in every way imaginable.

According to basketball reference, he has scored at least 20 points per game the past four seasons, along with having almost 5 assists and 5 rebounds per game.

Since LeBron James departed the east, the conference should be wide open the next few years. Boston and Philadelphia are both rich with young talent and are sure to be power houses, but a team with Butler and another superstar would be right in the mix for best team in the east, especially if that second super star is Butler’s friend Kyrie Irving, who could potentially ditch Boston for Brooklyn in a year.

The Nets have spent the past few years staying patient in the free agent market, taking on bad contracts from other teams in exchange for picking up young talent and draft picks, and have managed to build a solid foundation despite the catastrophic trade that sent three first round picks to Boston in exchange for Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce.

The team has built a core of later first round picks and taking players in bad situations and hoping a change of scenery would allow them to prosper. As a result, they have gotten players like Jarrett Allen, D’Angelo Russell and Dzanan Musa as a foundation for the future.

Since Butler has made it clear that he has teams he prefers to be traded to, the Nets have leverage over the Timberwolves in negotiating a potential trade for Butler. And even though The Nets did not have their first round pick last year and NBA rules do not allow a team to trade first round picks in consecutive years, they have the ability to trade a first round pick in any potential Butler deal since they’ve acquired Toronto’s first round pick for taking on Demare Carroll’s contract last season.

A team of Butler and the current roster would be nowhere near the level needed to take on the juggernauts of the NBA like the Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets or Boston Celtics, but it would be the first step of bringing the Nets back into contention after spending the past few years in the cellar.