NBA Trade Rumors: Latest Buzz on Jimmy Butler and Terry Rozier

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistNovember 8, 2018

Minnesota Timberwolves' Jimmy Butler plays against the Houston Rockets in the first half during Game 3 of an NBA basketball first round playoff series Saturday, April 21, 2018, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
Jim Mone/Associated Press

As the 2018-19 NBA season keeps rolling, so too does the seemingly perpetual movement of the rumor mill.

The latest batch of trade buzz includes both a familiar face and a new—though a tad predictable—one.

Should either break loose, they're both capable of elevating a team to new heights.

Interested yet? You should be.

Let's dig in.


Two Possible Landing Spots for Jimmy Butler Resurfacing?

MINNEAPOLIS, MN -  NOVEMBER 24: Jimmy Butler #23 of the Minnesota Timberwolves handles the ball against the Miami Heat on November 24, 2017 at Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloadi
David Sherman/Getty Images

The Jimmy Butler saga feels like it's lasted longer than a dramatic television series.

We're nearing the two-month mark since his trade request went public, and it's still unclear how soon his wish will be granted.

That said, Butler's impending unrestricted free agency presents the Minnesota Timberwolves with an unofficial cutoff date. Keep him beyond the Feb. 7 trade deadline, and the Wolves are facing the disaster scenario of losing a 29-year-old four-time All-Star for nothing.

So, if he's likely to move sooner than later, where might his possible destination be? NBA insiders think they have some clues.

"Around the NBA, there's belief that the [Miami] Heat and Philadelphia 76ers could re-emerge in the Butler discussions," Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium reported.

The Heat, you may recall, neared a deal to land Butler in early October before the swap fell apart at the goal line. Fourth-year swingman Josh Richardson was reportedly part of those talks, per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, but his subsequent emergence as a 20.7-points-per-game scorer and cap-friendly contract (four years, $42 million) might make Miami hesitant to put him back on the table.

The 76ers feel like a logical trade partner for multiple reasons.

Their dynamic young duo of Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons needs another star to flesh out a potentially formidable Big Three. Philly's collection of future assets might also make it possible to orchestrate a Butler trade with minimal disruption to the current rotation, provided Wolves coach and president of basketball operations Tom Thibodeau would accept a forward-focused package.

But Philly Voice's Kyle Neubeck heard from sources that "the team's lukewarm stance on the Minnesota star has not changed." Neubeck added that "a large shift internally" from the Sixers would be required for them to pursue the disgruntled swingman.


Terry Rozier Upset, Multiple Teams Taking Note?

BOSTON, MA - NOVEMBER 1: Terry Rozier #12 of the Boston Celtics dribbles during the game between the Boston Celtics and the Milwaukee Bucks at TD Garden on November 1, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

On the heels of three fairly forgettable seasons to start his NBA career, Terry Rozier broke out as perhaps the biggest surprise star of the 2018 playoffs. Tasked with replacing the then-injured Kyrie Irving on the Boston Celtics, Rozier delivered six 20-point performances en route to playoff per-game averages of 16.5 points, 5.7 assists and 5.3 rebounds.

Rozier only turns 25 in March. He'll venture into restricted free agency shortly thereafter.

That might make him sound like someone on the cusp of a colossal payday. Except, with Irving healthy again, Rozier is only averaging 22.7 minutes and 7.5 points per night on 35.5 percent shooting this season.

According to The Ringer's Bill Simmons, Rozier is unsurprisingly upset about this development, and word of his discontent is leaking out across the Association:

Bill Simmons @BillSimmons

Unexpected early-season Celts subplot: Terry Rozier (restricted FA next summer) has been unhappy w/ his PT all season, word has gotten around the league, and everyone now knows the Celtics need to trade him... which, of course, makes it harder to trade him.

Charania reported "at least seven teams" are tracking Rozier and "waiting to see if the Celtics could begin to field trade calls." The Phoenix Suns, who are starting journeyman Isaiah Canaan at point guard, "have aggressively pursued Rozier," sources told Charania.

Boston, Charania reported, "appears content with its roster." Considering the Shamrocks' depth figures to play an important role in their championship pursuit, that's hardly shocking to hear.

But this situation bears monitoring. With Irving having already informed Boston's front office of his intentions to re-sign this summer, per Charania, Rozier could easily prove too costly to keep should one (or more) of these interested parties put a major offer sheet in front of him.

While there aren't a ton of teams in need of obvious help at point guard, Rozier potentially appeals to suitors of all types. Those with win-now aspirations will appreciate the fact he has delivered in the playoffs previously and has three-plus seasons of experience under his belt. Those operating on a longer timeline could see significant untapped potential given his age and relative lack of exposure (career 19.1 minutes per game).

In other words, if the Celtics reach the point where they'd consider moving Rozier, they shouldn't have trouble finding willing trade partners.