Timberwolves’ Jimmy Butler Requests Trade

1:25pm: The Nets, Knicks, and Clippers are Butler’s three preferred destinations, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter).

12:48pm: Timberwolves All-NBA swingman Jimmy Butler has requested a trade, league sources tell Jon Krawcznyski and Shams Charania of The Athletic. According to the duo, Butler has given Minnesota a list of one to three teams with which he’d be open to signing a long-term extension, informing the Wolves that he doesn’t intend to sign a new deal with the team next summer.

Butler, who spent the first six years of his NBA career with the Bulls, was traded to the Timberwolves during the 2017 offseason and helped the club snap its 13-year postseason drought in the spring. Despite being limited to 59 games due to injuries, Butler earned All-Star and All-NBA Third Team nods in 2017/18, averaging 22.2 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 4.9 APG, and 2.0 SPG while playing strong perimeter defense.

Although Butler enjoyed a strong individual season and the Wolves took strides toward title contention, there were whispers throughout the year about tension among the club’s stars. A report in July suggested that Butler was “all but fed up with the nonchalant attitude of his younger teammates,” including Karl-Anthony Towns. Earlier this week, we heard that Towns may be postponing his contract extension decision until he sees what happens with Butler.

Still, Krawcyznki hears that possible issues with Towns and Andrew Wiggins have “very little, if anything,” to do with Butler’s trade request. It’s more to do with contractual matters, Krawczynski adds (via Twitter).

Butler is technically under contract for two more years, but he’ll have an opportunity to hit the open market in 2019 by turning down his player option. If the Wolves expect him to jump ship at that point – and there have been rumors that he’s interested in playing alongside Kyrie Irving – then it makes sense to gauge the trade market for him before then. However, head coach and president of basketball operations Tom Thibodeau has been “resistant” to the idea of moving his star wing, tweets Krawczynski.

Butler, who informed the Wolves of his stance during a meeting on Tuesday to discuss his future, already turned down a contract extension offer from the team earlier this offseason. As we noted at the time, Minnesota is limited to offering four new years worth just over $100MM at this point — the club could go much higher with its offer in free agency, when Butler would be eligible for a five-year contract worth up to a projected $190MM. If he signs with a new club, Butler would be limited to approximately $141MM over five years.

If Butler is traded, his Bird rights would be traded along with him, so his new team would gain the ability to offer a five-year contract worth an estimated $190MM. Those may be the “contractual matters” Krawczynski is alluding to. It’s also possible Butler would be more willing to consider an extension prior to free agency if he joins a team on his wish list. CBA restrictions would prevent him from being eligible for that four-year, $100MM+ extension for six months after being traded though.

From the Timberwolves’ perspective, moving on from Butler may alleviate some long-term cap concerns, as carrying maximum contracts for Wiggins, Towns, and Butler beginning in 2019/20 might not have viable. Of course, it won’t be easy for Minnesota to recoup fair value for its four-time All-Star now that his trade request has been leaked publicly.

As for the teams that may be of interest to Butler, it’s safe to say that his short list probably includes at least one or two big-market clubs. Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com (Twitter link) hears from a source that Butler is likely interested in the Knicks. A report last month indicated that Butler would consider the Lakers in free agency.

However, Knicks president Steve Mills just talked about not wanting to surrender big trade packages for players that may be available in free agency, and the Lakers don’t really have the salaries necessary to make a Butler deal work at this point. The Lakers – and many more teams around the NBA – will be in a better position to make deals when various trade restrictions lift after December 15.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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59 thoughts on “Timberwolves’ Jimmy Butler Requests Trade

  1. bbgarnett

    Thank you, now let’s hope we can find a good trading partner. It seemed like a great deal when we got him but IMHO he’s too much of a ball hog and forces way to many bad shots.

    • justinept

      Completely agree. He’s a top 15-20 player in the league and one of the best 2-way guys. But he’s always been an ISO guy who needs the ball to be effective offensively. It’s tough to win with those types in the current NBA.

    • dimitrios in la

      Time to dump him. Another disgruntled guy who thinks more of himself than others should, especially long-term. Save the money, reallocate it and build a real team of people who WANT to be on said team!!

  2. ccjockey

    What sucks is that now every team knows he wants out so the Wolves will now have to take whatever crap deal comes along.

  3. jacobsigel1025

    To LA for Hart Kuzma and lottery protected first or to Denver for Millsap and a 2nd

    • Yes, please go to and then re-sign with LA because with LeBron there that’s definitely one team that Kyrie would not leave the Celtics for!

  4. greg1

    The plot thickens!

    I suspected this was going to be the result of the meeting, but to give them a list of a couple teams he would sign an extension with makes it really interesting. Gives the Wolves some leverage in negotiations. Wonder if he did this to expedite a deal, or just wants to end up somewhere where he doesn’t need to go through the FA process next year?

    Wonder who the teams are? Wouldn’t be shocked if the Lakers were one, but after that???

  5. beany_boy

    Minnesota’s Jimmy Butler has three preferred destinations for a trade, league sources tell ESPN: The Brooklyn Nets, Los Angeles Clippers and New York Knicks. Those three teams have max cap space to sign Butler as a free agent in July.

  6. Thronson5

    Lakers are for sure one but they don’t seem willing to give up their young guys so I don’t think they’ll get him. I’d keep Kuzma no matter what if they do try.

      • KCelts

        Doesn’t matter what Butler prefers. They could trade him to Atlanta or Phoenix if the TWolves want.

        • Thronson5

          Very true. He can tell them teams he wants to go to but they can do whatever they want. Or they can just keep him.

  7. acarneglia

    Butler trade ideas.

    To Knicks: Teague, Butler
    To TWolves: Ntilikinia, Knox, Lee, Kanter

    To Nets: Butler
    To TWolves: Crabbe, Dinwiddie, Musa, 1st

    To Clippers: Butler, Patton
    To TWolves: Harris, Gilgeous-Alexander, Lou Will

  8. justinept

    Not suggesting the Bulls should be interested, but I am surprised they’re not on his list. Regardless his relationship with Gar/Pax, he was always a favorite of ownership and has reportedly maintained close with Bulls ownership since he was traded.

  9. Dionis

    Knicks should trade for him, Ntilikina is not going to deserve playing behind Kyrie next season. Ntilikina is now 6’7 if the Wolves don’t pounce on him they are asinine. They could run Ntilikina at the 1 or the 2 and they could get Courtney Lee and 1st rounder. Wiggins and Towns won’t lose their touches with Frank and Lee and they could still compete for the playoffs.

      • Lol I actually agree with this one too. Clippers don’t have anything useful and a package of Russell and some others doesn’t do it for me either.

  10. cba93

    Sounds like he thinks kyrie is going to join him next year. Knicks could be pretty good

  11. ClancyJ

    Sure glad we made the playoffs this year. Now back to missing the playoffs for another 13 years.

  12. natsfan3437

    The only viable team on the list is the nets. They have good young talent that aren’t complete projects and vets on expiring deals but can still contribute and their pick (top 10 protected). The knicks have average players on bad deals and they have young players that have major gaps in their game. And the clippers just overpay for everyone. Only player they could trade is Harris and he isn’t enough.

  13. Ptn18

    Tobias Harris and Patrick Beverly to Minnesota for Butler. Clippers sign Butler and Kawhi this summer.

    • cba93

      Bradley and Harris would be a good package but not sure why the clippers would want a team with just butler and Lou

      • Ptn18

        Clippers will have enough cap room to sign Kawhi and Butler this summer. A good bet is Butler is looking at Kyrie with Nets and Knicks, and Kawhi with Clippers. Gallinari, Bradley, and Beverly for Butler and Teague would be a good trade. You would have Butler, Teague, Kawhi, Gortat, Williams, and Gilgeous-Alexander. Wolves would have Anthony-Towns, Wiggins, Gallinari, Bradley, and Beverly.

  14. beany_boy

    Worth noting on Jimmy Butler: Knicks president Steve Mills said at a fan event on Monday that the Knicks will not trade assets for players that they feel they can sign in free agency:

    • Bklynbeats17

      True but also if they trade Lee frank kantar and 2nd rounders the only asset they lose is the 2nd rounders. The three teams he chose are ones he’s willing to sign an extension with. So there is a chance they could lose out on him before he hits free agency.

  15. Ptn18

    Butler and Teague to Clippers for Avery Bradley, Danillo Gallinari, and Patrick Beverly. Clippers sign Butler, Kawhi, and Teague (he may opt in anyway).

  16. beany_boy

    Betting favorites for where Jimmy Butler will play Game 1 in 2018-19, per BookMaker.eu:

    Timberwolves +200
    Nets +200
    Clippers +350
    Knicks +600
    76ers +1500
    Lakers +1600
    Celtics +2000
    Jazz +2000
    Heat +2200
    Trailblazers +2200
    Field +200

    • x%sure

      Heat would be a good bet at those odds; they have a lot of pieces and can’t pull the trigger on anything else but think they should. Butler should be a good match with Riley & personnel. Bosh comes off their books next year, and if Winslow & Mcgruder are sent, they don’t have pressing contracts next year. I would not send Mcgruder though. Winslow & any of their top 4 salaries would match… Or Winslow & Waiters with Mcgruder or new guy. Plus a 1st.

  17. paladin

    Jimmy Butler seems to be most concerned with setting himself up with the 190 million 5 year extension package. I dont blame him for wanting. Realistically, is he a player worth that type of big long term contract? I think it would be rather ironic if they get no real serious offers from teams knowing those ”projected” numbers are on the table. 38 mill a year for Jimmy is much too much of a long expensive NBA marriage. Just takes one team to believe, I guess. Seems like he gets hurt a lot.

  18. Ptn18

    Kawhi has said the Clippers are his preferred destination and is trying to recruit someone to play with him. As long as Butler would have Bird rights with the Clippers, this would do it.

  19. imindless

    I think if knicks can get butler even at the cost of a future first if they can resign butler they should do it. A 2019 squad of kyrie (he gone celtics fans) butler, knox, kp, robinson is best the east by a mile. When kd or kawhi leave there teams for lakers it will be a lakers vs knicks match up which would be great to watch for a couple of years.

    • mcmillankmm

      And how do you expect them to fit KP, Kyrie, and Butler rostered all on max deals? And you really think Knox and Robinson will stick around to play with those 3? Come on

      • imindless

        They already have kp locked up and will have 2 slots for next year. Cap is also project to increase 20 million over the next two seasons.

      • imindless

        They have kp till 2020, and own his bird rights. So two max next year and they can go over to sign kp like the warriors have done and continue to do by blowing past cap by 40 million

  20. Good news! We will be able to enjoy Monster KAT again, like in his sophomore season!
    BTW can Thibs be added to the trade, just wondering.

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