Despite any and all objections from Tom Thibodeau, Jimmy Butler is going to be traded from the Minnesota Timberwolves in the very near future; however, it appears the New Orleans Pelicans are not one of his suitors.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the teams revealed to have significant interest in acquiring Butler are the Brooklyn Nets, the Detroit Pistons, the Houston Rockets, the Los Angeles Clippers, the Miami Heat and the Philadelphia 76ers.
While Woj’s latest article did state that the six listed candidates “are among the teams interested in probing for deals,” fans shouldn’t count on New Orleans as being an unmentioned hopeful. Butler’s group did identify only three preferred destinations (Clippers, Nets and Knicks), and the Pelicans should not have much interest in dealing a key member from last year’s successful run (say Nikola Mirotic) for a possible one-year rental, who on the surface makes for a somewhat odd fit.
- With Anthony Davis and Jrue Holiday reaching impressive new plateaus in their careers last season, the New Orleans front office should be extremely wary about adding another high-usage, type A personality player to the mix — that experiment failed spectacularly in a locker room containing Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins.
- Butler’s addition projects to alter an identity that proved immensely successful. Although Jimmy’s defense and versatility would be most welcome, his ball-dominant offense would stall Alvin Gentry/Chris Finch’s strategy of moving the ball quickly. The Pelicans found a new gear once all DeMarcus Cousins possessions were replaced by Rajon Rondo and the rest of the cast. FYI: Butler owned a 42.7% Usage Rate in the Clutch during the 2017-18 campaign!
- With obvious trade candidates in Mirotic and E’Twaun Moore — the Wolves will be seeking helpful, win-now type of players in return and not prioritizing future draft assets, the Pelicans core would in all likelihood be left almost devoid of prominent three-point shooting. A rotation featuring Elfrid Payton, Holiday, Butler, Julius Randle, Davis, Solomon Hill, Ian Clark, Jarrett Jack and Jahlil Okafor would have opposing defenses collapsing far too often into the paint.
Jimmy Butler may sound like a crazy good trade idea on paper, but don’t be fooled, his inclusion doesn’t make obvious logically sense for the entire league — at least not the New Orleans Pelicans.