In the latest episode of the NBA doesn’t sleep, Sham Charania informed us that Jimmy Butler wants out of Minnesota?!
Jimmy Butler has requested a trade from the Minnesota Timberwolves, league sources tell me and @JonKrawczynski. Butler has given Minnesota a list of one-to-three teams with whom he's open to signing extension, in anticipation of trade.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) September 19, 2018
Now we don’t 100% know who those three teams are, although Stefano Fusaro indicates one of them could be Miami.
According to an NBA source, the Miami Heat are one of those teams. https://t.co/6kjZI3Hc6b— Stefano Fusaro (@FusaroESPN) September 19, 2018
Woj, initially scooped by his protege, had other news:
Minnesota's Jimmy Butler has three preferred destinations for a trade, league sources tell ESPN: The Brooklyn Nets, Los Angeles Clippers and New York Knicks. Those three teams have max cap space to sign Butler as a free agent in July.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) September 19, 2018
So long story short, Milwaukee isn’t one of the teams that Butler would sign an extension with. However, that doesn’t mean they are not an option for a trade even if it’s just for a season. Milwaukee would most likely need to part with at least one of Khris Middleton, Eric Bledsoe and Malcolm Brogdon to get Butler.
Middleton would be the most likely piece in order to get the deal done, but Khris has a better skillset to complement Giannis, is younger and has a shorter injury history than Butler. However, Butler would be the bigger name, higher upside (for this season) and an appropriate work ethic to pair with Giannis. For one season, the trade wouldn’t make Milwaukee worse or better. You also swap the discussion from what Middleton’s next contract will be to what would Butler’s contract look like.
The next two players that Milwaukee would potentially trade in a deal would be Malcolm Brogdon and Eric Bledsoe. Salary cap wise, you would have to hope Minnesota would want an unappealing contract (ie. Henson, Snell, Delly) to pair with Brogdon while Bledsoe would be a closer match. Would Minnesota want those two players though? That would be a pretty low ball offer for a potential top-20 player in the league. For Milwaukee, trading Bledsoe would leave the PG rotation quite weak, with Delly the most likely candidate to become the backup PG. We’ve all seen how that story doesn’t translate well to team success. The Bucks would likely need to add an asset as well, which they have slim to none at the moment that other teams probably covet.
Overall, unless Minnesota takes a low ball offer with Bledsoe or Brogdon being the premier player they receive, or trade Middleton and answer the next contract question later, Milwaukee should sit this one out. Yes, Butler would be a defacto number two player the Bucks haven’t had, but that also creates a potentially bigger question mark and keeps Milwaukee at relatively the same level they are at now.