The Minnesota Timberwolves would love to be any other team besides themselves at the moment. They finally made the playoffs last year and now the team is slowly breaking up. Guard Jimmy Butler declined to resign with them and he is rumored to team up with guard Kyrie Irving in New York City next year.
Without Butler, the Timberwolves will go back to mediocrity. He was important on the defensive end and he is a great isolation player. Losing to the Houston Rockets may be the reason why Butler leaves but the blame comes back to the coach. Rockets outwitted the Timberwolves and their was no counterpunch. Instead, the Wolves stuck with the same game plan that did get them one win in the series.
A crowded Western Conference may be also why Butler will leave. With the addition of LeBron James to the Los Angeles Lakers, making the playoffs is going to too much for the Wolves. They were the eighth seed last year but will most likely miss out this season.
Butler can join a team in the Eastern Conference and almost be guaranteed a playoff spot. The two teams that are going to benefit are the New York Knicks and the Brooklyn Nets. Both teams will have a lot of cap space next season and will be able to sign at least two superstars. Butler and Irving will most likely join one of those two teams.
An advantage that those teams have is that they are based in New York City. It is the greatest city in the world. Players are attracted to the city like flies. The Knicks and the Nets may not be that good but some players are okay with that as long as they get to play in New York City.
The Knicks and the Nets have gotten younger and better the past couple of seasons. They will be able to make the leap to a playoff team with ease after signing one or two big names next year. In the past couple of seasons, we have seen bad teams turn it around and become dominant through the NBA Draft and acquiring younger players.
Butler is as good as gone and it will be interesting to watch him next season. Will he be miserable or will he go about things as usual? The Wolves will try to resign him but I don’t think they will be able to change his mind.