It’s not pretty in Minny. For weeks now, star wing Jimmy Butler has persistently and publicly lobbied for the Minnesota Timberwolves to trade him elsewhere, and the Milwaukee Bucks have been a team lurking on the periphery of any sort of rumor. That is, until today, when Bucks fans (at least any who weren’t watching the Brewers-Cubs showdown, Go Crew!), saw another name get added to the Butler kerfuffle: Khris Middleton.
Report: Timberwolves offered Jimmy Butler to Bucks for Khris Middleton https://t.co/F4bnrxSbbI— ProBasketballTalk (@nbcprobballtalk) October 1, 2018
This was expected, sure, but it’s still important. The report comes via longtime NBA media fixture Chris Sheridan, who penned a longer article discussing the importance of – and difficulties maintaining – accurate sources within NBA franchises, and calls out both the Wolves and Miami Heat as particularly difficult teams to glean information from. Regarding the Bucks and their likelihood of getting involved in this mess, Sheridan casts some significant doubt.
I know that the Wolves called the Bucks and asked for Khris Middleton, and that was rejected. I also know that the Bucks are open to moving Malcolm Brogdon, and Eric Bledsoe and his expiring $15 million contract are enticing to many teams.
But would the Bucks shake up their roster for a rental?
Especially a 30-year-old rental who has had two knee surgeries, wants a max contract and has become an instant pariah?
Doesn’t pass the “it makes sense” smell test.
Sheridan clarifies the Bucks’ position, identifying the risk and (correctly) assuming that they would only become buyers in the Butler market if the price came way down. Middleton definitely fits with Giannis Antetokounmpo, whereas Butler’s fit is only theoretical. Furthermore, Middleton is younger (check), has fewer miles on his body (check), will likely be cheaper (check), and is flat-out a better outside shooter (triple check) than Jimmy G. Buckets, making it the rare case where the “better player” isn’t the preferred option in a given scenario.
MKE would take him if he came cheap. Not giving up Middleton, but would move Brogdon in the right deal. https://t.co/aL5XJlv7C0— Chris Sheridan (@sheridanhoops) September 30, 2018
This does, of course, give way to the notion that if the Bucks’ valuation of Jimmy Butler is more than the same of either Eric Bledsoe and (or?) Malcolm Brogdon, that a universe exists in which Butler can be acquired for cheap. Butler’s talent makes him a no-brainer in terms of pursuit, but the lack of long-term assurances (both health and contractual) from Butler and his prickly personality make even a low-cost move fraught with downside.
A Giannis-Butler-Middleton trio would vault the Bucks into the upper tier of the Eastern Conference. But would it allow the Bucks to persist? Jimmy Butler could, and probably would, leave next summer. Ditto for Khris Middleton, if he doesn’t like how the Butler experience goes. How does all of this affect Giannis’ outlook on winning big in Milwaukee? Is the short-term gain worth the potential long-term pain?
Should the Milwaukee Bucks get involved in the Jimmy Butler Sweepstakes?
This poll is closed
Yes, and Butler is worth giving up Middleton.
Yes, but it’s more important to keep Middleton.
No, it’s not worth the downside.