This last week of NBA drama has been pretty crazy, from the Finals, to the Sixer/Celtics trade, Paul George rumors, and now comes Jimmy Butler. Marc Stein has reported that Cleveland has had trade talks now with the Bulls about a multi-team trade including Butler.
Both players are very appealing and will fill necessary holes for Cleveland. But lets look at both guys side by side to get a comparison:
Paul George: SG/SF 6-9, 220lb. 2016-17 season: 23.7 PPG 6.6 REB 3.3 AST 1.6 STL 46% FG, 39% 3pt FG. 1 year left on his contract
Jimmy Butler: SG/SF 6-7, 220lb. 2016-17 season: 23.9 PPG 6.2 REB 5.5 AST 1.9 STL 45.5% FG 36% 3pt FG. 3 years left on current contract.
Both players are very similar as far as statistical output, both bring very good defensive skills to the table, something Cleveland needs. thinking about their fit though, Cleveland needs to acquire a guy that can guard Kevin Durant (at least slow him down a little) and be able to knock down shots consistently.
Paul George beats Butler by two inches on his height which gives PG13 the advantage defensively on KD. Statistically, George is the better shooter out of these two and can certainly shoot off the catch a lot better than Butler. Most of Butler’s threes were off the dribble. Cleveland needs a catch and shoot guy to give LeBron more weapons, they have the rim covered.
The problem with Paul George is his contract + lack of cap space to re-sign him without major roster re-construction. Butler has two extra years on his current deal with Chicago, giving Cleveland much more security to do roster re-construction in the next couple of years.
As far as long-term, Butler seems like the better candidate. but, if they want to beat GSW next season and hope for the best later, Paul George is the better fit; That is up to Cleveland to decide, here is a couple hypothetical lineups with both guys:
G Kyrie Irving G JR Smith G Jimmy Butler F LeBron James F TThompson
G Kyrie Irving G JR Smith G Paul George F LeBron James F TThompson
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