Jimmy Butler remains a member of the Minnesota Timberwolves - for now, anyway. The All-Star guard has demanded a trade and Minnesota's ownership is reportedly pressuring Tom Thibodeau to move him before the start of the 2018-19 season.
ESPN NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski had a major update on Butler and the Timberwolves this morning. Here is the latest on everything that's going on.
Butler, a free agent in 2019, wants to be traded. The exact reason for this is unclear, but he 100 percent wants out. The Timberwolves' ownership wants to honor his request and ship him out for a nice return, but Thibodeau seems to be less sure of this.
Wojnarowski is reporting that Minnesota's head coach tried to convince Butler to change his mind, unsuccessfully. He's also reporting that other teams think Thibodeau might not bring every deal to Minnesota's front office as a way holding out hope.
Thibodeau understands that the Wolves won't receive close to comparable talent back for Butler and that he could miss the playoffs for the second time in three years and lose his job.
As the trade process grinds along, some interested teams are working to bypass Layden and go directly to Wolves ownership with trade offers. Teams dealing with Minnesota describe an unusual level of confusion. Some have heard separately from Taylor and the Layden/Thibodeau management team, with little apparent coordination between the two levels of Minnesota's organization. There have been bubbles of optimism that Taylor has convinced Layden and Thibodeau to follow his edict to trade Butler soon, but those have so far given way to renewed uncertainty and hazy chains of communication.
Butler underwent his physical in Minnesota on Monday, missing the team's media day with ownership permission. He is preparing to stay away to continue what has been called a final week of rehabilitation on his surgically repaired right hand, but the direct message to Taylor and Thibodeau has been unmistakable: He expects that he will never wear a Wolves practice or game jersey again and doesn't want to prolong the drama on his way out, sources said. In his meeting with Thibodeau on Monday in Minneapolis, Butler reiterated that he had no plans to play for the team again, league sources said.
A bunch of different teams have been mentioned as options for Butler. He reportedly prefers to end up with the Clippers, Knicks or Heat, though the list of teams interested in making a trade for him is a lot longer than that.
Butler seems to prefer to end up in a major market, though it's possible he could be convinced to re-sign with a non Los Angeles/New York team in free agency in 2019 if he gets traded to a team that makes a deep playoff run this upcoming season.
The Butler situation is expected to be resolved soon, according to multiple reports. The Timberwolves want this to get done quickly. The NBA's regular season is approaching in a couple of weeks, after all.