BOSTON – Jimmy Butler reportedly wants out of Minnesota and has a trio of teams he’s interested in, and that includes the New York Knicks.
Despite the Celtics not being among Butler's preferred destinations, they have the fifth-best odds of landing him, according to Bovada.
According to https://t.co/WEqcV8gW1l, the #Celtics are tied for the fifth-best odds of Jimmy Butler being on their roster for Game 1 of the 2018-2019 season.— A. Sherrod Blakely (@ASherrodblakely) September 19, 2018
Minny Timberwolves: 3/2
Philly 76ers: 11/4
NY Knicks: 15/4
BKN Nets: 15/2
Bos Celtics: 15/2
And the Butler-to-the-Knicks talk is indeed worth watching for one reason: Kyrie Irving.
The Celtics All-Star, who will become a free agent in the summer of 2019, has reportedly longed to play with Butler.
If New York is able to trade for Butler this season, it would do nothing but enhance their chances of landing Irving when he becomes available.
Of course, New York’s chances of trading for Butler and turning around to sign Irving next summer will be difficult to achieve, especially with Joakim Noah’s contract ($18.5 million this season, $19.3 million next year) still on the books.
Still, in acquiring Butler, it would provide the Knicks with the kind of hope that maybe -- just maybe -- they can bolster their roster in the both the short-term with Butler, and potentially long-term if they can reshuffle their roster and create a max-salary slot for Irving.
Of course, Irving’s future rests heavily in how things play out with the Celtics, who will enter the season as the odds-on favorite to advance to the NBA Finals.
And a big part of those lofty expectations lies in Irving, who has been at the team’s practice facility playing 5-on-5 with his teammates.
Celtics coach Brad Stevens has had a chance to see Irving at work and when asked about whether he has all his moves back, Stevens smiled, “he’s got ‘em.”
Boston has maintained from the very start that its goal is to create a winning culture, and that all players who are part of the program understand that they are part of the team’s success.
Even before Irving arrived in Boston, he had established himself as one of the best point guards in the NBA. But it wasn’t until he arrived in Boston did he not only produce at a high level, but do so in leading a team to the postseason.
What’s often lost in the narrative behind Irving’s decision to ask out of Cleveland, was the fact that he had never had any team success without LeBron James.
And as talented as Irving was for the Cavs, there was no way that was going to change as long as James (now with the Los Angeles Lakers) was around.
But in coming to Boston and finding both individual and team success, Irving has shown himself to be more than a productive player, but also someone who can successfully lead others.
That makes his return to Boston a no-brainer, right?
While there is no question Irving has enjoyed his time in Boston both on and off the court, there’s no telling what he will be searching for when the summer of 2019 arrives.
And that is why the Butler-to-New-York talk is worth watching if you are a Celtics fan.