While the Houston Rockets sit at the forefront of the Jimmy Butler trade talks, there are multiple other teams eyeing the Minnesota Timberwolves guard. To this point, the asking price has seemingly been too high for teams to make the leap and swing a deal, but as the season rolls on, that could change quickly.
On one side, when the trade deadline draws closer, the Timberwolves will likely feel pressure to move Butler as opposed to losing him for nothing in free agency. But on the other end of the spectrum, there are going to be multiple teams in need of a playmaker to help put them over the top down the stretch of the season.
Time will tell how it all plays out, but it seems the Toronto Raptors could wind up as a team to monitor in the Butler sweepstakes. As Marc Stein of the New York Times detailed, they’ve have flown under the radar a bit but he believes the Raptors have at least considered a potential deal for the All-Star.
“My sense is that the Raptors have indeed pondered making a run at Butler. And I gather that they are, on some levels, tempted.” Stein stated.
“But trading for another free-agent-to-be in Butler, after surrendering DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl and a first-round pick to get Leonard, would be a second significant gamble for Toronto in the space of four months. Is that one dice roll too many? That appears to be Toronto’s stance …” he concluded.
Would Jimmy Butler Push Raptors to Elite Level?
The Raptors are off to an 11-1 start on the season and look every bit like the class of the Eastern Conference. At this point, an argument could be made that they’re already elite, even though it’s only been 12 games. Behind Kawhi Leonard, Kyle Lowry and the impressive play of Serge Ibaka and Pascal Siakam, the Raptors are trending upward at a rapid rate.
Adding Butler to a starting lineup which would be headlined by Leonard, Lowry, Siakam, sharpshooter Danny Green and either Ibaka or Jonas Valanciunas is impressive. There’s obviously a chance Toronto would have to give up Siakam in a deal with the Timberwolves, as well as at least one or two other players.
Regardless, the Raptors would become more than just a tough team to guard, they’d be a force on the defensive end. Leonard and Butler are top-tier defenders, while Lowry and Ibaka are both strong on that end as well. Time will tell, but a potential trade bringing Butler to Toronto could make a lot of sense – assuming he’s open to signing long-term.