The Minnesota Timberwolves would have received someone who is now considered a star player had the Jimmy Butler trade gone differently.
The Minnesota Timberwolves have had a lot of misfortune over the course of the past few years. After trading for star wing Jimmy Butler, the Timberwolves made the playoffs for the first time in 14 years.
Shortly thereafter, though, it was revealed that Butler was (very) unhappy in Minnesota. He was traded once again in November of 2018 to the Philadelphia 76ers, where he played the rest of the season before joining the Miami Heat via a sign-and-trade.
This season, Butler has carried the Heat to a 5-0 playoff record in the NBA’s restart. After sweeping the Indiana Pacers in the first round, Miami already has the 1-0 edge over the first-seeded Milwaukee Bucks.
The Heat’s second-best player is Bam Adebayo, who finished second in Most Improved Player voting. Adebayo averaged 16 points, ten rebounds, five assists, alongside one steal and one block per game. He is one of the best two-way centers in the NBA, and one of only two that can facilitate an offense.
Recently in an interview with the Athletic [subscription required], Jimmy Butler made a note that Adebayo was in a potential trade to the Timberwolves, had they decided to trade him straight to Miami rather than Philadelphia. He also said that Adebayo was one of the main reasons he decided to sign with the Heat.
While Adebayo certainly was not as highly sought after then as he is now, the Minnesota Timberwolves still obtained multiple assets in exchange for Butler – Dario Saric and Robert Covington being the two main pieces.
Adebayo would have been a perfect fit on a Timberwolves team that desperately needs defense. He is incredibly talented on both ends of the floor and would be excellent alongside Karl-Anthony Towns.
Again, though, the Wolves essentially received Jarrett Culver, Malik Beasley, Juan Hernangomez, and a first-round pick from the Brooklyn Nets in exchange for Butler – and while we currently are not sure whether any of those pieces will be as good as Adebayo, there’s a lot to be excited about for the Timberwolves.