Only one NBA team still has any real cap space available for the 2018/19 season, and that team – Sacramento – is keeping a close eye on the Jimmy Butler sweepstakes, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.com. According to Wojnarowski, the Kings have been “aggressive” in courting both the Timberwolves and potential Butler suitors, offering to use their cap room to accommodate unwanted contracts.
As Wojnarowski explains, the Kings – who have about $11MM in cap space – don’t have their own first-round pick for 2019, but could be in position to acquire another team’s first-rounder or other assets as part of a three-way Butler swap. Sacramento assistant GM Brandon Williams has let teams know that his club isn’t opposed to taking on multiyear contracts, whether that means Gorgui Dieng‘s deal or perhaps a pricey contract from a potential Wolves trade partner like the Heat, Clippers, or Nets.
While the Kings don’t have enough cap room to absorb, say, Dieng’s $15MM+ salary on its own, the club could send out any number of expiring contracts to make the math work. Zach Randolph ($11.7MM), Iman Shumpert ($11MM), Kosta Koufos ($8.74MM), and Ben McLemore ($5.46MM) are among the Sacramento veterans on expiring deals.
As the Kings explore ways to get involved in a possible Butler deal, teams interested in acquiring the All-Star wing have been receiving mixed signals from the Timberwolves on what kind of assets they value, sources tell Wojnarowski. According to ESPN’s report, clubs dealing with the Wolves are also confused about whether to deal with owner Glen Taylor or front office execs Tom Thibodeau and Scott Layden — there’s a perception that the management and ownership groups may not be in agreement on the structure and timetable of a potential trade.
Although Thibodeau tried on Monday to convince Butler to report to the team during the preseason, the 29-year-old remains adamantly opposed to ever practicing or playing with the Timberwolves again and has implored Thibodeau and Taylor to trade him soon to avoid prolonging the drama, writes Wojnarowski. While there has been some optimism among opposing teams that Minnesota will comply with that request, “renewed uncertainty and hazy chains of communication” have dominated recent talks, Woj adds.