But maybe Minnesota also has more realistic targets – like Khris Middleton.
I know that the Wolves called the Bucks and asked for Khris Middleton, and that was rejected.
Middleton for Butler wouldn’t work straight up due to salary-cap rules. The Bucks would have to send out more salary, and maybe the additional players in Minnesota’s proposal would have swung the trade into clearly unfavorable for Milwaukee.
But a deal based on Middleton for Butler is interesting. Butler is better. Middleton is two years younger. Both can become unrestricted free agents next summer.
I bet the Bucks believe they’d have a much better chance of re-signing Middleton, and that’s obviously important. But so is Butler’s superior production. Giannis Antetokounmpo, with an upgrade on the wing from Middleton to Butler, might be ready to lead Milwaukee to incredible heights this season.
Generally, NBA teams are too risk-averse. The Bucks will be barely criticized, if at all, for not making this trade. But if they dealt for Butler and he left next summer, they’d faced immense criticism – even without us knowing whether Middleton would have re-signed. Doing nothing is safer perception-wise than doing something, and that often drives these types of decisions.