According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and several other reporters, current Minnesota Timberwolves swingman Jimmy Butler has requested a trade. Butler met with President of Operations and coach Tom Thibodeau on Tuesday, September 18 in Los Angeles where he expressed his desire for an immediate move. During the meeting, he told Thibodeau that he wants to be traded before Media Day on Monday, September 24. However, the Timberwolves have no plans on letting go of Butler just yet, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
ESPN story on Minnesota front office responding to trade calls on All-Star Jimmy Butler — and how owner Glen Taylor could impact the decision to move him. https://t.co/I7CEayA7H8
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) September 21, 2018
Wojnarowski also reported that the four-time All-Star has given his current team a list of three preferred destinations, the LA Clippers, Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks. And at the top of this list for Butler is the Clippers. Surprising to many is that the Los Angeles Lakers do not appear at all on this list. With Lebron James joining the Lakers this offseason, Los Angeles has become a prime destination for marquee players. But Wojnarowski has reported that Butler wants to not only land in a big market but also be the face of a franchise while at the prime of his career. With the Lakers, he would obviously have to take a backseat role to James and potentially other superstars they pick up along the way. Among his preferred teams, Butler would be the clear number one option on the Clippers and Nets but would likely have trouble winning over the Porzingis-crazy Knicks’ fanbase.
Butler currently holds a player option on his contract next season but was expected to opt out and take his chances at free agency in 2019. There were various reports in the offseason that mentioned Butler’s frustration with the attitudes of Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins, which likely influenced his decision to request a trade.
This news comes at a terrible time for the Timberwolves, who are under a week away from the start of training camp. They are coming off their best season and first playoff appearance since the Kevin Garnett-led squad made it to the Western Conference Finals in 2004. Thibadeau has made it clear that he wants to win now and trading Butler will make it that much harder to keep up with the overpowering Western Conference.
Even if the Timberwolves decide to keep Butler, for the time being, it will be difficult to maintain team continuity. Their star player has made it clear that he wants out and is having problems with the team’s other key players. That in itself is a recipe for disaster.
Whatever the current situation is behind the scenes, it will be clear within a few days whether Butler does, in fact, get his wish for a trade before Media Day on Monday or if he has to stick it out in Minnesota for another season.