Defying his front office executives, Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor is telling other owners and GMs at the NBA’s Board of Governors meetings that Jimmy Butler is available and they can make trade inquiries directly to him, if necessary, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Taylor’s willingness to deal the disgruntled swingman, who can become an unrestricted free agent this summer, flies in the face of an earlier report by Wojnarowski on Friday that the Timberwolves were rebuffing calls on Butler’s availability.
This leads to speculation that a showdown is looming between Taylor and Tom Thibodeau, the Wolves’ president of basketball operations and head coach, Wojnarowski notes. GM Scott Layden reports to Thidobeau and is the usual point person on trade talks.
Thibodeau has no desire to deal Butler in any scenario that would set back the team’s chances of making the playoffs again and advancing deeper into the postseason.
In contrast, it appears that Taylor’s mind is made up that Butler must go.
“The owner’s trading him,” a Board of Governors attendee told Wojnarowski. “That was made clear. It’s just a matter of when.”
There is a good possibility that Butler will not report to camp when it opens next week, according to Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. Krawczynski details how the Butler-Thibodeau relationship deteriorated over the past year.
Thibodeau is willing to let any drama between Butler and the team’s other two stars, Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins, play out in training camp and into the regular season. Taylor, on the other hand, does not want to go through a potentially dysfunctional season and see the franchise’s image tarnished, Wojnarowski continues. The franchise’s business operations have successful marketed the team’s stars and don’t want that campaign completely ruined, Wojnarowski adds.