Despite Jimmy Butler having requested a trade out of Minnesota, the Timberwolves continue to show no desire to trade their All-NBA wing. As ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports, rival executives who have called the Wolves’ front office to inquire on Butler are being told that Minnesota views him as an elite player and plans to keep him.
Since word of Butler’s trade request broke, reports have repeatedly suggested that head coach and president of basketball operations Tom Thibodeau has shown little to no interest in moving his star swingman. While it’s possible that the Timberwolves’ stance is a negotiating tactic to regain some leverage, Wojnarowski observes that Minnesota hasn’t even shown interest in hearing what prospective trade partners would hypothetically offer for Butler.
Butler reportedly prefers to be dealt to the Clippers, Knicks, or Nets, with Wojnarowski suggesting that the four-time All-Star has prioritized the Clips and Knicks over Brooklyn. Still, there are number of teams around the NBA with interest, according to Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic, who tweets that not all of those clubs would need assurances that the 29-year-old would sign long-term. Still, they won’t get a chance to put an offer on the table for Butler at all as long as Thibodeau and the Wolves insist they’re hanging onto him.
If the Timberwolves are serious about keeping Butler, it will be fascinating to see how it affects their extension talks with Karl-Anthony Towns. As Dan Feldman of NBC Sports relays, Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN said on a podcast this week that Towns wants the Wolves to “figure out” the Butler situation before committing to a huge new deal.
“I’m led to believe that a big reason why he hasn’t signed it is that he – through his agent, Leon Rose – went to the Wolves and said, ‘Hey, I can’t coexist with Jimmy. Do something about it,'” Wolfson said. “So, figure out the Jimmy situation. On top of that – whether it’s right or wrong – this is the way he feels, that it’s been Jimmy and Thibs ganging up on him.”
While Thibodeau is adamantly opposed to trading Butler, team owner Glen Taylor intends to be involved in the decision-making process along with Thibodeau and GM Scott Layden, league sources tell Wojnarowski. It remains to be seen if Taylor will have a different view on how to handle Butler’s trade request.