Sports history is full of ‘what-ifs’ and hypothetical moves that could have changed the course of the competition forever. From Kobe Bryant to the Chicago Bulls, to Chris Paul making his way to the Los Angeles Lakers, there have been countless stories of superstars nearly teaming up with other stalwarts.
As you may know by now, a single move or phone call can create a massive domino effect and alter the course of NBA history. We’ve seen it happen over and over, like with Jerry West convincing Kawhi Leonard not to team up with LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
But what if we told you that this wasn’t the only deal that almost got done recently and suddenly fell apart? As a matter of fact, early in the 2018-19 season, it seems like Jimmy Butler could’ve completed a huge Big 3 in the Western Conference next to James Harden and Chris Paul. How’s that? Let’s walk you through it.
Well, according to several reports, the Houston Rockets were trying to go all-in on Jimmy Butler to match up vs. the Golden State Warriors and finally beat them in the playoffs. That’s why they offered the Minnesota Timberwolves Eric Gordon and 4 future first-round picks for Jimmy Buckets.
The Timberwolves didn’t want to help out a Western Conference foe, so they eventually traded him to the Philadelphia 76ers along with Justin Patton in return for Robert Covington, Dario Saric, Jerryd Bayless, and a future 2nd-round pick.
If the Sixers hadn’t landed Jimmy Butler, then they hadn’t gone after Tobias Harris. That means that they wouldn’t have given him that 5-year, $180 million, a fully-guaranteed deal that has made so many fans go crazy over the past couple of years.
Moreover, that would have meant that the Houston Rockets wouldn’t have traded away Chris Paul and that the Miami Heat would’ve had to go after Russell Westbrook instead. Houston, on the other hand, would have been able to beat the Golden State Warriors and even win the NBA Championship.
So, if Butler makes it to the Rockets, perhaps Kawhi Leonard doesn’t win his second ring, his free-agency saga doesn’t go the same way it dit, the Clippers wouldn’t have traded that many picks for Paul George and the battle of Los Angeles wouldn’t even be a thing.
It all seems like a bit of a conspiracy theory, but it’s crazy to think how a simple move would’ve altered the course of NBA history as we know it.