The three teams on Jimmy Butler's wishlist have enough cap space to offer him to a max extension and sign a big-name free agent next offseason.
Of all the All-Stars who can become unrestricted free agents after this season, which one would fit in best with Butler moving forward?
Scott Rafferty (@crabdribbles): I can't stop thinking about Butler and Kyrie Irving on the same team. While they'd have some limitations defensively - Irving has never been known for his impact on that end of the floor - they'd complement each other well on offense, with both of them being versatile scorers who can play on and off-ball.
It would make for a similar dynamic as the Irving and LeBron James one we saw in Cleveland. Butler obviously isn't the all-around offensive superstar that LeBron is, but that would likely work in the dynamic duo's favor, as it would make them equals as opposed to a clear No. 1 and No. 2 option. It would immediately vault Irving and Butler to the top of the best backcourt discussion, alongside Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson in Golden State and James Harden and Chris Paul in Houston.
Gilbert McGregor (@GMcGregor21): I'm going with Kyrie Irving as well. The off-the-court chemistry displayed between Kyrie and Butler at the 2016 Olympic Games leads me to believe they would make for the most fun pairing on the court.
Irving sought a new opportunity in Boston to be the man. While he's an All-Star and clearly the most visible talent on the team right now, he might not be a clear-cut No. 1 on the Celtics for much longer. Kyrie and Jimmy would likely be 1A and 1B wherever they decided to team up, but their dynamic would put Kyrie into the forefront as the franchise player - and their complementary games should translate into success on the floor.
Kyle Irving (@KyleIrv_): I'm going with Kawhi Leonard here. I know it's rumoured that Butler and Kyrie Irving want to play together, but let's see two of the best defensive wings in the game link up instead.
Whether it's New York, Brooklyn or Los Angeles (Clippers), having a core of Leonard and Butler automatically puts you in the conversation for the best defensive team in the league. Neither player is too ball-dominant and can score at the rim or on the perimeter. I think their games mesh well together, and if you add one more max deal out of the loaded 2019 free agency market, you're looking at a serious contender.
This isn't to say that Kawhi won't re-sign with Toronto, but it's fun to play the "what-if" game when you're talking about the Knicks, for example, coming back to relevancy by building around Leonard, Butler and a fully healthy Kristaps Porzingis.
Carlan Gay (@TheCarlanGay): I'm going with no one. The list of teammates Jimmy Butler has gotten along with is shorter than the list he reportedly gave the Timberwolves as favoured trade destinations. No one will question Butler's ability on the court, but if you're a free agent with the ability to essentially decide where we'd like to play for the next three to four years and your main goal is to win a championship, why would you bank on Butler being an ideal teammate?
In Chicago, he and Derrick Rose couldn't get on the same page and now in Minnesota, he can't get along with the two young stars he was brought in to help develop? What's to stop him from feuding with you when you arrive to a team that he believes is "his"?
At what point do we start asking if the problem is Jimmy?