Timberwolves star forward Jimmy Butler has requested a trade out of Minnesota after “weeks of contemplating his future,” reports The Athletic. The development comes days before the start of training camp and less than 15 months after the Bulls traded Butler to the Timberwolves in a blockbuster deal that initiated a rebuilding project in Chicago.
However, ESPN reports that Timberwolves coach and president of basketball operations Tom Thibodeau presently has no intentions to move the All-Star. The team is still hoping to make the playoffs for the second consecutive season.
Butler, one of the top defensive players in the league, met with Thibodeau this week in order to discuss his future with the franchise but it appears no resolution was found. The former Bull gave the Timberwolves a list of three teams he’s willing to sign an extension with if traded: the Nets, Clippers and Knicks.
Some of the problems that led to Butler’s trade request may have stemmed from his teammates. The Sun-Times reported earlier this summer that Butler had grown frustrated with the “nonchalant attitudes” of some of the younger Timberwolves, including recent No. 1 overall pick Karl-Anthony Towns.
“I just don’t think there have been many people that have understood how important winning is to me, man,’’ Butler told the Sun-Times in late April. “I just had a conversation about that very thing with somebody — not important who — but I put so much into this game, and I only play to win.”
Butler also talked this summer with fellow star Kyrie Irving about potentially teaming up somewhere down the line, either in Boston where Irving currently plays or in another city. Both are set to become unrestricted free agents in the summer of 2019, when they’ll be among a stacked class of players free to sign with new teams.
NBA teams will likely be lining up now to try to acquire Butler, who is one of the top two-way players in basketball. The 29-year-old averaged 21.7 points, 5.2 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game last season while leading the Timberwolves to their first postseason appearance since 2004. He’s set to make $20.4 million in 2018-19 with a player option for 2019-20 that he’s expected to decline.