The Minnesota Timberwolves played their preseason opener on Sep. 29, coming out victorious 114-110 against the Golden State Warriors. But more importantly, their star swingman Jimmy Butler was not active. Butler requested a trade on Sep. 18 and has since been waiting for action to be taken by the front office.
Head coach Tom Thibbadeau reportedly met with Butler on Sep. 24 to attempt to convince him to stay in Minnesota. For the game against the Warriors, he was listed as inactive with a wrist injury. This means that he is is still a member of the squad for now and Thibbadeau is still leaving the gate open in case Butler changes his mind.
When Butler initially requested his trade, his preferred destinations were Los Angles, New York and Brooklyn. But it was the Miami Heat and the Toronto Raptors that have shown the most interest over the past week. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, Thibbadeau has set too high of a price for Butler and neither team wants to give up so many valuable assets.
ESPN Reporting w/ Zach Lowe: Minnesota’s asking price for Jimmy Butler remains too steep for teams. Minny seeks quality vets/top prospects/future assets/cap relief. Too high a price for interested teams, including Miami. Sources are skeptical of Thibodeau’s desire to make deal.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) September 27, 2018
As of Saturday, it appears that the new frontrunners in the hunt for Butler are the Houston Rockets, reports Timberwolves sports blogger Dominique Clare. The expected trade includes Eric Gordon as well as a possible third team.
It is looking like the Houston Rockets are the new frontrunner in trading for Jimmy Butler.
Expected trade pieces include Eric Gordon, draft pick, and potential others.
A 3rd team could also factor in. Sacramento Kings seem to be a favorite there.
— Dominique Clare (@DomClare) September 29, 2018
This trade could be huge for the Rockets, who have already added Carmelo Anthony this offseason. With four superstars in James Harden, Chris Paul, Bulter and Anthony, the Rockets would be a definite threat to dethrone the Golden State Warriors.
Regardless of what happens, Butler and the Timberwolves need to find a way out of this limbo situation immediately. The closer it gets to the season tip-off, the harder it will be for the Timberwolves to receive a favorable trade for Butler. Teams are hoping to finalize their rosters and a trade right before the season begins can create massive disruptions in the camaraderie and flow of a team. So more likely than not, expect a trade to occur in the next couple of days. And if Butler does end up in Houston, NBA fans be prepared for a truly intriguing season.
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