With training camps around the corner, the NBA rumor mill has sprung back into action today, as word broke that four-time All-Star Jimmy Butler is seeking a trade out of Minnesota. Butler even has a few specific destinations in mind, having reportedly told the Timberwolves that he’d have interest in being dealt to the Nets, Knicks, or Clippers.
In his full report on the Butler situation, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski provides several more tidbits on the All-NBA wing, so let’s dive in and round up the highlights…
- Butler’s list of preferred landing spots could expand based upon the willingness of the Timberwolves and rival teams to negotiate a deal, league sources tell Wojnarowski.
- For now, Tom Thibodeau and the Timberwolves have little interest in dealing Butler, preferring to keep him and attempt to make a deeper playoff run in 2018/19, says Wojnarowski. Thibodeau’s “tenuous” status with team owner Glen Taylor may play a part in that stance, according to Woj, who notes that it would be tough for Minnesota not to take a step backward in the short term by trading Butler.
- Butler is into the idea of playing a central role for a big-market club, per Wojnarowski. The Lakers are a less appealing option now that LeBron James is on the roster, since Butler would be playing second fiddle there.
- The Clippers, Nets, and Knicks have varying levels of interest in Butler, each “prioritizing him in different ways,” writes Wojnarowski. All three teams will have substantial cap room next summer, so acquiring Butler (who will have a $30MM+ cap hold) could hinder their ability to pursue other stars.
- According to Wojnarowski, the Heat are another team with interest in Butler. Going after him in free agency likely won’t be an option for Miami, since the club doesn’t project to have cap space in 2019.
- While initial reports suggested that there were teams with whom Butler would be willing to sign an extension, Wojnarowski clarifies that the former Bull wants to be sent to a team that would plan on re-signing him to a five-year max contract as a free agent in 2019. Such a deal is currently projected to be worth nearly $190MM — it remains to be seen if any team would make such a huge investment in a player who will be 30 years old when he reaches free agency.