Jimmy Butler has requested a trade from the Minnesota Timberwolves, according to Shams Charania and Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. Butler is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent this summer, but there are only two teams that should be interested in trading for Butler heading into the season: the Lakers and Celtics.
The Lakers are the first name that is going to come to mind for many. For the Lakers, it really comes down to would they actually part ways with their young talent for a player they have a chance to get in free agency? In my opinion, given the Lakers want to pair LeBron James with another superstar, they should pull the trigger if they can get a commitment from Butler (there’s a good chance the Lakers are one of the teams he would commit to). They just saw what happened with Paul George and there is an increasing amount of buzz Kawhi Leonard may not even want to go there.
The Boston Celtics make a lot of sense if they can get the money to work going forward. Butler and Kyrie Irving, who will also be a free agent, are friends and it has been rumored for months they could pair up together when able to do so. If the Celtics can find a way to lock them both up after a trade, this could be the move that puts them over the Warriors. Boston has the trade pieces, as well. A package built around Jaylen Brown is going to be hard for any other suitor to match.
The Clippers and Knicks also make sense as big market teams that could satisfy Butler in the long run. The problem is unless the Clippers include Tobias Harris, it is hard to imagine Minnesota being fond of any package either team can put together.
As for the rest of the NBA, barring any new report or inside information, the most reasonable expectation is they would only be renting him for a year.