Western Notes: Butler, Lillard, Anthony

The Timberwolves have given off the impression that they won’t trade Jimmy Butler but Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders speculates that a rocky start to the season could make the franchise reconsider its position.

The Western Conference is as competitive as ever and Minnesota is no lock to be a playoff team. Should the Wolves slide in the standings, Butler’s frustration with his teammates could grow and with only one season remaining on his deal, there won’t be much time to mend the relationship.

The front office has tried to get Butler to sign an extension with no success. However, it is worth noting that it’s in the 28-year-old’s best interest to wait and sign a new deal in the offseason rather than inking an extension now since he’s eligible for a larger starting salary this summer.

Here’s more from the Western Conference:

  • The Trail Blazers have no clear path to improve enough in order to compete with the Warriors for the Western Conference crown and Kyler (in the same piece) wonders whether it will force Portland to consider dealing Damian Lillard. Kyler adds that the point guard is “loyal to a fault,” meaning a lack of success for the franchise won’t result in him demanding a trade.
  • The Rockets‘ loss of Trevor Ariza and addition of Carmelo Anthony has critics yet again doubting the team. Coach Mike D’Antoni isn’t worried about the skeptics, as Jerome Solomon of the Houston Chronicle relays. “It’s our job to prove them wrong,” D’Antoni said. “And we did it for two years now.”
  • Solomon (in the same piece) notes how many around the league doubted the Chris PaulJames Harden pairing, believing that with only one ball, the two players couldn’t possibly flourish. The Rockets ended last season with a record of 44-4 in games in which both players started and Solomon cautions against writing off the Anthony acquisition without seeing him alongside the team’s stars.
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35 thoughts on “Western Notes: Butler, Lillard, Anthony

  1. Philly Fan

    I think Butler will end the year in Minnesota since they’ll want to make a playoff push but end up signing with the Lakers during free agency. Magic has made it clear that he wants to surround LeBron with high iq and competitive playmakers and Jimmy checks all three boxes

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    • Dionis

      Butler on the Lakers? Can’t see it. How do the Lakers sort out the starting lineup assuming Caldwell-Pope is gone?

      Ball-Butler-Ingram-Lebron-McGee?

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      • Philly Fan

        The lineup you mention works. And with Kuzma and Hart coming off the bench, the Lakers are easily title contenders

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    • NOPelicanFangirl696969

      Nah i see him in new york with kyrie. Doubt butler joins lebron

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  2. Boston offered all those draft picks (no players per the report, included the Sacramento pick) for Kawhi. Boston tried to get Butler when he was with Chicago. Kyrie and Butler want to play together. Wonder if Boston would make the same offer for Butler as they did Kawhi?

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    • Dionis

      There will be a severe logjam. I see Tatum and Brown going nowhere and would be stone cold of Danny to trade Hayward.

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      • Z-A

        If you got Butler, Tatum and Brown become pieces for an Anthony Davis trade.

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        • Dionis

          I don’t see Davis leaving New Orleans when he becomes a free-agent. I think Randle and Davis will play together for a very long time on the Pelicans.

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        • FromTheCheapSeats

          Jayson Tatum will be making All Star games long after Jimmy Butler has retired.

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    • Trade Morris, Brown, Rozier, picks for Butler. Start Horford, Tatum, Butler, Hayward, Kyrie. They could play with Golden State.

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  3. Dionis

    Where can Lillard possibly get shipped? Doubt he gets traded but than again they did draft Anfernee Simons for a reason so they may look to build with him going forward who knows.

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  4. Z-A

    Lillard to the Sixers makes a lot of sense… Even though I hold out hope for Fultz, Lillard is a beast.

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    • Dionis

      The Sixers aren’t trading Fultz, he’s a Sixer long-term.

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    • It would take Embiid or Simmons and then some to get Lilliard.

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      • Z-A

        lol no it wouldn’t. DeRozan for Kawhi was the exception. You get picks and salary to match typically.

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        • Portland isn’t giving up a 1st team NBA player for Robert Covington or Dario Saric, It would take Embiid to get Lilliard.

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          • Z-A

            The trade would be centered around Draft Picks… like I basically said a comment ago. The Heat pick, and they have all of their own future picks.

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  5. FromTheCheapSeats

    Over the last two years, I’ve seen a dozen articles suggesting the Blazers should trade Lillard. What could they POSSIBLY get that would even come close to equal value?

    It’s not going to happen.

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  6. formerlyz

    As big of a loss that Ariza is, I think people are overlooking the added depth in other areas that Houston has now, especially with young players. They grabbed James Ennis, who can help make up for some of the lost defense and versatility on the wing, and they drafted De’anthony Melton, who can potentially guard multiple positions. MCW can potentially play a Shaun Livingston-type of role and guard multiple positions. They also added James Nunnaly, who can potentially knock down some shots on the wing, and they should have a more dynamic big rotation this year, with Onuaku and Zhou Qi becoming a little more viable, as well as Hartenstein, with the former being another Capela type rim protector, and the latter 2 being able to stretch the floor a little.

    Then, obviously Melo should fit at the 4 for them next to PJ Tucker. I still think OKC made a mistake getting rid of him, especially b/c they didnt even really save as much money as they originally were trying to, and he wasnt the problem there. The only potential issue is Harden, Melo, Gordon, and Anderson in certain combinations on the floor together would likely be abhorrent defensively, but they can always stagger minutes to avoid that happening

    I feel like whatever happens, Melo will get blamed, but he wont be the reason they dont beat GS. I just think we should hold off on the narrative that they’re significantly worse without Ariza, despite that being a big loss

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  7. You see I find truly amazing to see still a star who has the loyalty of Dame, how can that be loyal to a fault, that’s how all the stars should be, but also the teams, if Portland trades him, it will be unforgivable.
    I don’t understand why everybody keeps talking about him gonna Philly, they don’t need a PG they have Simmons, which is gonna be one of the best players ever, so why would you want another PG?

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  8. Why all the Boston fans keep coming up with line ups were they seem to put either Hayward/Tatum at the 4, just cannot see it both are rather 2/3 than 3/4, not tall enough but specially they are very lightly built, there is no way they can play the 4. If you are gonna put a 3 at the 4, occasionally, is gotta be a big strong 3 like LBJ, Kawhi, KD… anyway that’s what I think.

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    • Hayward plays 2-3, Tatum plays 3-4, Brown plays 2-3, Horford plays 4-5. If Simmons will be best point guard ever, Just like Lonzo right, he’ll have to learn to shoot. Boston has 4 all stars, Philadelphia 2. Boston fans don’t care if Philadelphia fans talk trash because it’s the game that counts. Philly can’t match Boston.
      Jayson Tatum is a big strong guy. He played Bronnie well for a rookie. Bronnie complimented him. The broadcast said Tatum had the ability to be the best in the NBA down the road. That’s what I think too.

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    • Connorsoxfan

      Basketball is changing. Unless you’re playing New Orleans with Randle and AD or the death lineup with Cousins and Draymond in GS, 2,3, and 4 are turning into the same position.

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  9. yoyo137

    I love how everyone went from saying that the Blazers should trade Dame to saying that they definitely shouldn’t lol. It’s always a non-story with any of his trade talks. Neil Olshey is the one who is loyal to a fault. There’s no way he would be traded unless he specifically requested a trade. Which they also said he would never do. So like always, a non-story. I’m glad everyone at least understands this now though.

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    • You won’t see Houston break up Harden-Paul, or Washington Beal-Wall. Portland shouldn’t break up Lilliard-McCollum either.

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      • yoyo137

        Agreed. The problem has never been them and their defense improves every year. Actually their offensive game does too. They work hard, they elevate their teammates, and the fans love them. Not much more you can ask for except for some better wing players.

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  10. Portland’s problem is they could have had Michael Jordan and Kevin Durant. Instead they got Sam Bowie and Greg Oden. They offered Roy Hibbert a max, but got lucky when the Pacers re signed him (was traded to Lakers for a future 2nd rounder). Their mistake now is Evan Turner. Everyone is entitled to sign a Deng, Mosgov, etc.

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    • yoyo137

      Don’t forget Brandon Roy’s knees, Bill Walton’s foot, and the Cold War keeping Sabonis out of the NBA until he was already in his 30’s with leg problems. A lot of ifs but the Blazers could’ve been up there with the Celts and Lakers as the greatest NBA franchises ever.

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    • bennyg

      Not to mention, they signed Drexler the year before, so why sign another SG the following year. They realised they needed a big, Bowie was playing exceptionally well in College, so Portland went for him.
      Portland had a “Bad Boys 2.0” team but got robbed by the refs (and a dominant Shaq/Kobe pairing…. YEAH BUDDY!!), so it hasn’t always been bad signings keeping them out

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  11. Djones246890

    The T’Wolves would be wise to follow the Bulls’ lead and dump Butler. He’s an extremely divisive clubhouse figure that divides the locker room and alienates 80% of his team members. New team, same old story.

    He thinks he’s a leader (he’s not), and will stop at nothing to let everyone know he’s the “leader.” The only problem is no one follows his lead. Not much of a leader then. A real leader doesn’t need to let everyone know. It just happens naturally.

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