The Jimmy Butler trade is fantastic for the Timberwolves so why am I so conflicted?
Yes, Zach LaVine is one of my favorite players in the NBA. When he is at his best, his game is a masterpiece of joy and killer instinct, grace and power, long range bombs and rim rattling dunks. I am higher on Zach’s potential than anyone I know. I am 100% convinced he will be a stud.
But as I sort through my immensely complicated feelings on the Jimmy Butler trade, I can’t help but think the twinge of sadness that has settled in my gut is about more than just the loss of Zach LaVine.
With this trade I have been forced let go of the idealistic notion of the young pups growing old together. And that is what is hitting me. I am mourning the loss of something I never had but an idea that took hold in my being. As a tortured Wolves fan, all I have had for years is hope. Hope looks ahead to what is coming but when winning seems so far off hope becomes the goal. The hope for a good thing has become that good thing itself in the famine of good things that has become the life of a Timberwolves fan. If I have hope, if these young players keep their potential forever, then I will always have something to hold on to. This trade means that sooner rather than later, my hope will need to come to fruition. The young guys need to stop being young guys.
The dream is that the young, homegrown talent coalesces into something that is transcendent and because they started and grew together it will mean that much more. Unfortunately, that isn’t really how it works in the NBA. The Thunder were close but then practical reality set in. The Warriors had captured it for a moment but when you can get possibly the best player in the world you have to do it. They traded in the organic for the hypertrophic version of themselves because it was the correct decision to make.
This Jimmy Butler trade was the correct decision for the Wolves. But just because it was right, doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be pangs for what could have been. I need a couple days to consider the loss of the idea of what the Wolves were yet to become that I have held so tightly to for the last 3 years. But when the feeling of loss eases, I will immerse myself in the excitement of what should be the first good Wolves team in over a decade.