Another day, another rumor of discontent between Jimmy Butler and the Minnesota Timberwolves. This rumor comes courtesy of Shams Charania of The Athletic, stating Butler is “seriously contemplating his future” in Minnesota and is set to meet with the coaching staff and front office this week.

This has potential repercussions for the Denver Nuggets as well. The Nuggets have been on the periphery of Jimmy Butler rumors for years now. There was talk right before last year’s draft that the Nuggets had reached out to the Bulls with an offer for the All-Star Butler. He eventually moved on to the Timberwolves in a draft day deal, but it’s hard to deny the near-perfect fit that a healthy Jimmy Butler would provide for Denver’s starting lineup. He’s a top-flight defender, go-to scorer in crunch time and would have a team full of young and talented players willing to collaborate. Butler by himself may have ended Denver’s playoff hopes last season as he helped close Denver out down the stretch in Minnesota games last year, averaging nearly 32 points a game in those matchups.

This summer Butler was again working out with good friend DeMaryius Thomas of the Denver Broncos, and Thomas stated outright on his Instagram post that they were “working to see both of us playing for Denver sports teams.” Some of that was obviously in jest, but with Butler actually in Denver four days ago working out at Red Rocks and attending Thomas’s game against the Seahawks, it’s not hard to envision him suiting up for the home team in the Pepsi Center.

Could the Nuggets trade young budding star Gary Harris on his new deal, plus a quality expiring like Trey Lyles to the Timberwolves for a year of Jimmy Butler? They could – but with the 29 year old Butler looking for an expensive new deal after the season and with all the mileage he has accrued from his time with Tom Thibodeau and his habit of playing starters until they break down, it’s still a risky move. Gary Harris is still on his way up, and Jimmy Butler might have reached his peak in both health and performance already.

It would signal that Denver is done waiting its turn in the stacked Western Conference though, and believes they can contend in the next year or two instead of at some nebulous point down the line. Denver has been close on a Butler deal before if the rumors are true, and it would be a statement move if they could close that deal this time.

A trade of this magnitude this close to camp is uncommon, but if the opportunity comes knocking the Nuggets should answer and at least find out what it would take to make it happen. The luxury of adding two 206-17 Eastern Conference All Stars in Butler and Isaiah Thomas could cement Denver’s status as a team to fear and not just one to watch.

For fun, here’s both men facing off against each other in the 2017 playoffs. Imagine both of them doing this kind of work in a Denver uniform. The 2018-19 season cannot get here soon enough.

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