Minnesota Timberwolves All-Star guard Jimmy Butler is asking for a trade and provided a list of teams he'd sign an extension with, according to Shams Charania and Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic.
Jimmy Butler has requested a trade from the Minnesota Timberwolves, league sources tell me and @JonKrawczynski. Butler has given Minnesota a list of one-to-three teams with whom he's open to signing extension, in anticipation of trade.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) September 19, 2018
ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowkis reported that the Brooklyn Knicks, Los Angeles Clippers and New York Knicks are at the top of Butler's wish list.
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.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) September 19, 2018
Butler met with Minnesota head coach Tom Thibodeau, who was trying to get a sense of his future plans. Butler is expected to opt out of his contract and test free agency next year, and he rejected a four-year, $110 million extension from the Timberwolves earlier in the offseason.
It has been reported for a while now that Butler is unhappy in Minnesota, due to the toxic locker room and environment. Andrew Wiggins is reportedly dissatisfied with his role in Minny, and Thibodeau has obviously struggled to keep the group together as the 2018-19 season nears.
Last year, Minnesota acquired Butler and Justin Patton in exchange for Kris Dunn, Zach LaVine and Lauri Markkanen, the seventh overall pick in 2017. It was a lot for Minnesota to give up at the time, and it looks like they'll have wound up as a major loser in this trade.
Butler averaged 22.2 points, 4.9 assists and 5.3 rebounds per game with the Timberwolves last season, helping them reach the playoffs for the first time in 14 years. Minny was bounced by the Houston Rockets in the opening round of the playoffs.
For now, it's unclear which teams are on Butler's short list, but the Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers would make sense. All three clubs are loaded with superstars and young assets, and they could each offer attractive packages to Minnesota for Butler's services.
Assuming Butler is traded before the season begins, the pressure now falls on Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns to guide the team to another playoff spot. Losing Butler hurts, though, and the Timberwolves fans can only hope that GM Scott Layden secures a strong enough return package.