The Jimmy Butler trade rumors appear to be swirling in full force, two days after the meeting he was supposed to have with Minnesota Timberwolves coach Tom Thibodeau to discuss his future with the team. With reports suggesting that the 29-year-old All-Star does indeed want to be traded, ESPN NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski revealed on Wednesday the three teams Butler supposedly prefers to be traded to.
In a tweet posted on Wednesday afternoon, Wojnarowski cited league sources as he mentioned Jimmy Butler’s preferred trade destinations, which, contrary to some earlier rumors, do not include the Los Angeles Lakers. Instead, the talented guard/forward is reportedly leaning toward being traded to the Lakers’ inter-city rivals, the Los Angeles Clippers, with the Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks also listed as preferred destinations. Wojnarowski added that all three teams have enough salary cap space to sign Butler to a lucrative free-agent contract when his current deal expires in July, 2019.
Citing a report from The Athletic’s Jon Krawczynski, Bleacher Report offered details on the talks between Butler and Thibodeau, suggesting that the latter was “initially resistant” when the former asked for a trade. While several rumors had suggested that Butler wanted out of Minnesota because of personal issues with fellow stars Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins, Krawczynski added that Butler’s supposed trade request had more to do with his desire to get a better contract, as he is currently ranked as the 12th highest paid shooting guard in the NBA, putting him seven spots below Wiggins.
Despite Butler’s apparent desire to be traded, Thibodeau remains determined to keep him in Minnesota, as the team tries to make another run to the playoffs in the 2018-19 NBA season, Wojnarowski wrote in an ESPN piece detailing the new trade rumors.
As Minnesota's Jimmy Butler prefers a deal to destinations including the Clippers, Knicks and Nets, Tom Thibodeau has no interest in trading him — for now. ESPN story: https://t.co/krC560ZX6d
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) September 19, 2018
As previously noted by the Inquisitr, Jimmy Butler was supposedly open to signing with or being traded to the Los Angeles Lakers so he could play on the same team as LeBron James. Silver Screen and Roll opined that Butler’s apparent preference for the Clippers over the Lakers “really doesn’t matter at all,” as the latter team might have to give up at least a few of its young stars to come up with a deal the Timberwolves might find acceptable.
Because the Lakers elected not to trade these young assets to acquire Kawhi Leonard earlier this year and Paul George last year, Silver Screen and Roll predicted that the team won’t do the same to acquire an “objectively lesser player” like Butler.
Meanwhile, the inclusion of the New York Knicks as one of Jimmy Butler’s preferred trade destinations comes as no surprise. Bleacher Report noted that the Timberwolves wingman had previously been rumored to be interested in teaming up with Boston Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving in hopes of forming an Eastern Conference “superteam” in the summer of 2019, if and when both become free agents by declining their player options.