Jimmy Butler has his preferred destinations, but that doesn’t make them necessarily the best fits for him. There’s a difference a lot of times. What we’ve learned about Butler via the reported preferences on where to land, his priority is to be the man in a large market. It always appeared that he meant business and wanted to win first and foremost, but the places where he wants to end up say the contrary.
The Brooklyn Nets, Los Angeles Clippers, and New York Knicks are nowhere close to winning franchises. The Miami Heat are the closest one, but right now, they are a mid-to-lower tiered team in the Eastern Conference with no cap room until 2021, which would put him out of his prime then. At 29, he needs to win now because he will be at his most effective.
Some teams can use his services on the wing, and they are teams that he could instantaneously vault into legitimate title contention, or at worst, dangerous playoff matchups if Jimmy Butler were added to them. Cap space isn’t really taken into account because he is going to be a one-year rental.
The 76ers reportedly made an offer to the T-Wolves, but their asking price was just a little bit too high.
— Dime on UPROXX (@DimeUPROXX) September 27, 2018
It’s an unreasonable asking price for a one-year rental, by why not aim for the stars if you’re Minnesota? The 76ers were interested in Paul George and LeBron James during free agency, but couldn’t land either. But, they are in the market for a wing to improve the team.
They have their franchise big man in Joel Embiid, point guard of the future in Ben Simmons, and a high-potential backcourt mate in Markelle Fultz. What they lack in an elite 3-and-D wing. Robert Covington is a nice player signed to a reasonable long-term contract, but he’s no Butler. Jimmy Butler is an All-Star, top-15 player in the NBA that would give Philly their own Big 3, and would immediately make them legitimate contenders if paired with Simmons and Embiid. And Philly is a pretty big city that would also allow for long-term winning.
The Houston Rockets have become a team to never rule out in the pursuit for any star. They already little-to-none cap flexibility, but still wanted to go for LeBron James or Paul George in the summer. They had to settle for Carmelo Anthony, who is looking like Houston’s new sixth man, but you have to give them credit for trying to get creative. And while they weren’t a team that was initially brought up, Houston is indeed in the running for Jimmy Butler.
Houston nearly knocked off the Golden State Warriors last year, taking them to Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals, but an injured Chris Paul was the biggest reason they were not able to pull through. If he played, we might have had a different champion.
And a big reason for this was their defense that was a surprising strength for the first time under Mike D’Antoni. But they lost Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute in free agency, weakening the unit. Butler would not only add another scoring punch to help keep up with the Warriors, but he also helps recover the defensive excellence and toughness they lost with the duo.
The rumored deal would be centered around Eric Gordon, and if so, it would be a massive upgrade and put them with the likes of the Warriors and Boston Celtics, who are no-doubt the two best teams in the league.
New Orleans Pelicans
The Pelicans have one of the three best players in the league in Anthony Davis. One can argue he’s the best. But, they have not been able to build a title contender around him for whatever reason. They had their best finish in about a decade last year, finally advancing past the first round with Davis. But their ceiling is limited.
They have a quality point guard in Jrue Holiday, and two quality power forwards in Nikola Mirotic and Julius Randle. But, what they have been missing is a good wing player to help elevate them. Instead, the Pelicans have players like Solomon Hill and E’Twaun Moore filling in the three-spot, and they aren’t who you want to start.
Logically, it would be hard to envision this happening. They just signed Julius Randle and seem content with what they have. But as a fit, he works, and paired with Davis would turn them into near-title contenders.
The Trailblazers have lived and died with their backcourt of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum, and recent years prove that it’s time to change things up. Instead of focusing all the resources on the backcourt, why not move one of them, ask the other to do a little more, and reallocate those resources to somewhere more important for them. AKA the wing. Maurice Harkless and Al-Farouq Aminu just aren’t cutting it, and if the team remains the same, they are looking at another first-round exit.
Butler would add, or replace (depending on what they give up), the scoring threat, while giving Portland a legitimate elite defender, and help them move up the Western Conference.