- Minnesota Timberwolves star Jimmy Butler has reportedly requested a trade from the team.
- According to a report, Butler gave the Wolves three teams he’d be open to signing a contract extension with should he be traded – the New York Knicks, Los Angeles Clippers, and Brooklyn Nets.
- The news comes after rumours and reports of escalating tensions between Butler, Karl-Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins, and Tom Thibodeau.
Minnesota Timberwolves star Jimmy Butler has requested a trade from the team and given a list of teams to whom he’d be open to signing an extension, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania and Jon Krawczymski.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Brooklyn Nets, Los Angeles Clippers, and New York Knicks are the three teams with which Butler would be open to signing an extension. Butler can become a free agent at the end of the season.
The news comes after tensions seemed to be boiling over in Minnesota. Rumours suggested Butler and young Wolves stars Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins did not get along, while Butler had appeared to make critical comments of the young players on social media during the offseason.
Charania previously reported that Towns wasn’t willing to sign a contract extension until the Butler situation “resolves itself.”
Krawzcynski reported on Thursday that Butler’s decision to ask for a trade is not related to Wiggins and Towns.
The escalating tensions led to a meeting between head coach and team president Tom Thibodeau and Butler this week to discuss the team’s path forward.
Butler reportedly wants to play for a contender, but has also been rumoured to be interested in joining major markets like New York or Los Angeles as a free agent. There has been buzz about Butler and Kyrie Irving teaming up in free agency to build the NBA’s next super-team. The Nets, Clippers, and Lakers are all slated to have varying degrees of cap space this summer, with paths to create more to lure other free agents.
Of course, Butler giving some preferred destinations does not mean he’ll be traded to those teams. Kyrie Irving and Kawhi Leonard, two stars who requested trades, both gave preferred teams and ended up on the Boston Celtics and Toronto Raptors, respectively, two teams that were not on their lists.
Teams have seemed to become “emboldened” by Paul George’s decision to re-sign with the Oklahoma City Thunder after being traded by the Indiana Pacers a year before his free agency. With the Raptors taking a similar gamble on Leonard, other teams might be willing to trade for Butler as a one-year rental, with the hopes of retaining him down the road.
Butler’s trade could kick-start what sources deem a big free agency next summer. Nearly half the league’s talent pool will hit free agency while one-third of teams could have cap space. Where Butler gets traded could begin setting up the chess board for other trades or where players could go.
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