Report: Jimmy Butler never really wanted to go to Knicks

Kurt Helin
NBC Sports

This may be a bit of revisionist history, but it’s worth noting.

Earlier this year, before it all hit the fan in Minnesota, there were reports that Jimmy Butler and Kyrie Irving wanted to team up on the Knicks. Something Irving denied (he later said he plans to re-sign with Boston). Then, when Butler did request a trade and forced his way off the Timberwolves, the Knicks were reportedly on his list of preferred destinations. The Knicks were lukewarm on the idea.

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Now comes a report out of Philadelphia and Keith Pompey of the Inquirer that Butler was never down with these New York plans.



Just a few quick bullet point thoughts:

• At the time he was trying to throw a tantrum and get his way force a trade from Minnesota, would Butler really have said no to New York as a destination, or threatened not to re-sign there? I doubt it. He would have gone and praised the deal because he wanted out of Minnesota badly. Was NYC where he most wanted to be? Only Butler knows that. Miami and Philadelphia were not in the original reports, but both seemed to become places he pushed to get dealt to at points.

• Even with Butler, these Knicks were going to struggle this season. Butler would have chaffed in that setting and it would have made re-signing him difficult.

• Of course the reports out of Philly are that Butler is happy and wants to re-sign there. He says he’s happy, he’s playing well, and very likely he does stay there as part of the Sixers’ new big three. But this team is still in a honeymoon phase and every report out of that city right now is going to be like puppy dogs and rainbows. Adversity will come and then we will see how strong the relationship really is.

• No doubt Butler wants to move on from being the center of trade rumors and talks, he’ll let Bradley Beal have that mantle for a while.

• Did Butler and Irving actually talk about teaming up in New York? Who knows, maybe they did one All-Star weekend over some beers, or maybe this is all just the fever dream of some Knicks fans that took on a life of its own.

• Did Butler and Irving ever have SERIOUS talks about teaming up in New York? Highly doubtful.

• The Knicks were always higher on Irving (and, according to buzz around the league, have not completely given up that dream despite what Irving has said about staying in Boston). That said, there’s a lot more Kevin Durant to New York buzz now than Irving (and take the KD to the Knicks with grains of salt).

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