Proposed Blockbuster Sees Warriors Swap Lotto Crew & Dubs Legend for All-Star

Jimmy Butler Bam Adebayo MIA-BOS

Getty Miami Heat stars Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo talk during an Eastern Conference Finals game against the Boston Celtics.

For the first time since the opening week of the 2022-23 campaign, Golden State Warriors fans have been given real reason to hope that the club could contend for the title again with its current group. Entering what was essentially a schedule loss against the Pels on Monday, the Dubs had won back-to-back games and five of their last seven.

Meanwhile, Klay Thompson seemingly reverted back to his peak self — 20-point quarters and all — Stephen Curry continued to exist on a higher plane and Jordan Poole showed signs of picking things up as well.

Still, uncertainty abounds regarding the team’s dual-timeline approach, particularly with regard to the youth contingent. James Wiseman has been sent to the G League, Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody are still struggling to cement rotational spots and the rookies have been a total afterthought.

As such, fans and pundits alike have been sounding off on the possibility that the Dubs could cut their losses with the youngsters and go all-in on winning now. To that end, CBS Sports’ Sam Quinn floated a doozy of a hypothetical trade over the weekend.

Wild Proposal Brings Jimmy Buckets to the Bay Area

Jimmy Buckets PLAYOFF CAREER-HIGH 47 PTS 🔥Led by Jimmy Butler’s Playoff career-high 47 PTS (16-29 FG), along with 9 REB, 8 AST and 4 STL, the No. 1 seed Miami Heat defeated the No. 2 seed Boston Celtics in Game 6, 111-103. This best-of-seven series is now tied 3-3. Stay up-to-date on news, live scores and stats with the NBA

In an effort to give Miami a jumpstart on a rebuild that some see as being inevitable while also giving Golden State a boost in star power and defense for its title defense, Quinn tossed this deal out into the Twitterverse:

  • Golden State Warriors receive F Jimmy Butler and G/F Duncan Robinson
  • Miami Heat receive G Klay Thompson, F Jonathan Kuminga, G/F Moses Moody, C James Wiseman and two future first-round picks (2026 & 2028)

Quinn explained the trade as follows:

You essentially have one team trying to pull the plug on its present before it’s too late while the other is pulling the plug on its future before it’s too late. Plus both teams would have to be able to handle the emotional baggage of trading Jimmy/Klay. I can’t see them doing it

In the hoops scribe’s defense, he disclaimed the proposed deal as something that would “never ever happen.” And it’s definitely difficult to envision Joe Lacob, Bob Myers and the rest of the Warriors’ brain trust completely abandoning ship on their youth movement less than 20 games into year two (and just a few months after winning the chip).

Klay’s inclusion is a whole other ball of wax.

There’s also this: after pulling the trigger, the Warriors would have three open roster spots, two of which would have to be filled with not a lot of good options for doing so. Moreover, Robinson owns one of the worst contracts in the NBA and Butler has three more years at around $48 million per annum on his deal after this season.

So, before even determining whether Butler can be a fit, the Warriors would be committing themselves to many more years of luxury tax hell.

Nevertheless, there’s definitely some level of logic to be found in the proposal.

Butler Could Transform the Warriors’ D

After being one of the best — maybe the best — defensive squads in the Association last season, the Warriors have been abysmal in 2022-23. Entering the Pels game, the club ranked 24th league-wide in defensive efficiency, conceding 113.4 points per 100 possessions.

Not all of that can be laid at the feet of the second unit or the lotto guys, either.

For his part, Steph’s D-rating checks in at a less-than-awesome 112.3 as of this writing. And Andrew Wiggins’ number is only slightly better at 111.6. As a five-man unit, the Warriors’ regular starting five has been very good defensively, but whenever those players have had to mix it up with bench guys, some of them have been as underwhelming as anyone.

Butler has had his own struggles this year but, last season, opposing players saw their conversion rates drop by 2% overall and 5% on three-point attempts when Butler was the closest defender. On a Warriors team where a lot of the offensive pressure would be taken off of him, it’s not difficult to envision a return to his former lockdown ace status.

And staggering rotations to get him some second-unit minutes could raise the effort level and overall defensive efficacy of that entire group.

Additionally, the Warriors might be able to stomach the quirks in Butler’s game with Curry, Wiggins and Jordan Poole there to space the floor around him. On the other hand, things could get clunky when Butler and Draymond Green are on the court together.

In any case, Butler has always managed to offset his lack of potency from deep. And this year, he’s making almost a three per game on a conversion rate approaching 36%. He continues to be a 20-point scorer, too.

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