Why the Atlanta Hawks Shouldn’t Sign Jimmy Butler This Offseason

Trae Young #11 of the Atlanta Hawks (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Trae Young #11 of the Atlanta Hawks (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

A quick primer on why Jimmy Butler wouldn’t be a good fit on the Atlanta Hawks going forward.

As Jimmy Butler and his Philadelphia 76ers duke it out against the Toronto Raptors in the second round of the Eastern Conference Playoffs, the Atlanta Hawks are already holding pre-draft workouts for various prospects in the 2019 NBA Draft.

Beyond the draft, the team will also be looking to improve itself in free agency. Though the team’s main need is defensive help in the backcourt as well as a sturdy and stable big man, there is one player that the Hawks should not look to sign this offseason, the aforementioned star guard for the Sixers: Jimmy Butler.

Butler just provided a huge lift to the Sixers on the road, as an illness-riddled Joel Embiid was not playing with his usual world-beating confidence and Ben Simmons was focusing most of his attention on stopping Kawhi Leonard on the defensive end. That left the offensive creation burden on Butler, and he responded with a brilliant game of 30 points and 11 rebounds, helping to upset the Raps in Game 2.

Despite his clear offensive skills and the ability to “flip the switch” in the playoffs with the best of them, Butler would not make for a good fit on the Atlanta Hawks were he to show interest in signing with the Hawks this offseason.

Though a rock-solid scorer, Butler’s assist numbers have dwindled since a career year in that category in 2016-17 (5.5 per game, 24.5% assist rate per Basketball Reference), and his defense has waned since his Chicago days, when he was widely regarded as a lockdown guy on that end. Butler is also far better with the ball in his hands, which means he would take possessions away from Trae Young, the offensive dynamo of the Atlanta Hawks, and the best rookie in franchise history.

Lastly, Butler imploded the team chemistry for another relatively young team in the Minnesota Timberwolves, causing brilliant big man Karl-Anthony Towns to sort withdraw into himself and not play up to his usual levels. Would Butler really want to join an up-and-coming young team again, which might lead to more friction and bad press for himself? Doubtful.

Per Spotrac, Butler has a team option worth $19.8 million in 2019-20, which he is sure to decline in order to take advantage of yet another NBA cap space spike.

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While the Atlanta Hawks will certainly be in the running for any and all big-name free agents if they show even the slightest interesting coming to Atlanta, Butler should be lower on the list than other names for the team.