As the Minnesota Timberwolves continue to engage in trade talks for star forward Jimmy Butler, an intriguing NBA trade rumor has come to the surface.
Are the Minnesota Timberwolves trying to send Jimmy Butler to the Milwaukee Bucks? Butler to the Bucks is the latest NBA trade rumor that was circulating while the Timberwolves seek a new destination for their disgruntled all-star.
The idea of the Timberwolves negotiating with the Bucks is a surprise given the fact that the Miami Heat and Houston Rockets were considered as the frontrunners to land Butler. What is even more surprising is the rumor that the Timberwolves are eyeing sweet-shooting guard Khris Middleton.
Butler for Middleton is a fairly even swap involving a perennial all-star and a player on the cusp. If the Bucks were to make Middleton available in trade talks with the Timberwolves it is something that the Timberwolves must do immediately.
In many aspects, Middleton is the best potential return that the Timberwolves can get for Butler.
Middleton has length and he is an excellent perimeter shooter. One of the Timberwolves’ biggest weaknesses last season was floor-spacing. Potentially having a player who is a career 39 percent three-point shooter would help more than hinder the Timberwolves.
Another skill that Middleton has that would prove his overall fit with the Timberwolves is his underrated ability to facilitate an offense, without turning over the basketball. Middleton’s usage rate has steadily increased throughout his career, to 24.6 last season. Meanwhile, his turnover percentage declined to 11.8.
This is not to say that Butler was a turnover machine during his one year with the Timberwolves. When healthy, Butler was more than a steady hand. However, Butler can occasionally become a ball-stopper on offense. If the Timberwolves want to truly be effective, they must continue to move the basketball.
The NBA trade rumor of the Timberwolves requesting Middleton from the Bucks signals the fact that they are not giving Butler away. This trade, unfortunately, will not happen.
The Bucks value Middleton and will look to re-sign him next offseason. Conversely, Butler would be a player who is one year and out.
Also, the Timberwolves will have to take more in return for Middleton due to salary restrictions for NBA trades. The Timberwolves and Buck trading Butler for Middleton is an even deal in many respects. However, Butler will earn over $20 million to Middleton’s $12 million plus makes the deal a virtual non-starter.
If the Bucks can offer the Timberwolves someone other than Middleton, perhaps Eric Bledsoe, an agreement could be reached. That would become a one-sided trade which would only benefit Milwaukee. Look for the Timberwolves to stand firm on their trade requirements as other teams look to pry Butler away.