NBA Rumors: Tom Thibodeau Wants Proven Vets In Potential Jimmy Butler Trade, Per 'Sporting News'

The current week has seen all sorts of Jimmy Butler trade rumors firing up, with many reports also suggesting potential player packages other teams can offer if they want to acquire the talented wingman from the Minnesota Timberwolves. However, it seems that the team's coach and president, Tom Thibodeau, is only interested in a trade if it involves tried and tested veteran stars, as opposed to younger, less proven players.

Citing multiple league sources, the Sporting News wrote on Thursday that Thibodeau does not want to trade Butler and get "young, rebuilding-type pieces" in return. This, according to the publication, could be because Thibodeau specifically chose the Minnesota Timberwolves in the 2015 offseason after a successful stint with the Chicago Bulls because he wanted to join a team that "would be ready to contend quickly."

"No one expects Tom to coach a 25-win or even 35-win team," said an unnamed front-office executive, as quoted by the Sporting News.

"Even if he has to agree to dissolve the contract, they'd do that before they go and trade Butler for draft picks."
While previous reports suggested that Jimmy Butler's three preferred trade destinations include the Los Angeles Clippers, Brooklyn Nets, and New York Nets, the Timberwolves are reportedly okay with making him available to any team that's interested in acquiring him, regardless whether they're among his preferred destinations or not. According to the Sporting News, this could benefit the Timberwolves, as it would be "almost impossible" to get a suitable player package if Butler insists on only three potential trade destinations.
Aside from trading Butler to a team not included among his three preferences, the Timberwolves also have the option to hang on to the 29-year-old star, considering his previous ties to Thibodeau and the fact that the coach/executive has brought several other Chicago Bulls players from his old lineups to Minnesota. The Sporting News speculated that Thibodeau could keep Butler in the lineup and see how things go in the first few months of the 2018-19 season for the team's other two star players, Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins, both of whom Butler has been rumored to have issues with.

"A lot of this has to do with the work ethic of those young guys, and sometimes young guys just click and they get it out of the blue. For Thibs, that would be the way he prefers to play this," said an unnamed league general manager, who added that Thibodeau has a chance of convincing Butler to stay in Minnesota before the year is over.

A four-time All-Star and four-time All-Defensive selection, Jimmy Butler averaged 22.2 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.9 assists, and two steals per game in the 2017-18 NBA season. With those numbers, he helped lead the Minnesota Timberwolves to a 45-37 regular season record and their first trip to the playoffs since 2004.