If Minnesota Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor has his way, disgruntled wingman Jimmy Butler could be traded to a new team right in time for the start of the 2018-19 NBA season.
Citing league sources, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski wrote that it’s highly likely Butler’s days in Minnesota are numbered, as Taylor is reportedly demanding that the four-time All-Star forward/guard gets traded to another team “in the next several days.” Wojnarowski added that Taylor doesn’t seem keen on having Butler show up for training camp next week and is on board with the idea of letting him play elsewhere, despite head coach Tom Thibodeau’s willingness to deal with the drama that has surrounded the Timberwolves’ top players in recent months.
Although most fans might expect the list of Jimmy Butler’s trade suitors to be quite lengthy, considering the rumors that have been swirling since his talk with Thibodeau and other team officials on Monday, Wojnarowski noted that there are only a handful of teams in “serious” trade conversations with the Minnesota Timberwolves. He added, however, that the Brooklyn Nets, Detroit Pistons, Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Clippers, Miami Heat, Philadelphia 76ers, and Portland Trail Blazers are among the NBA teams that could be in the running for the 29-year-old Butler’s services.
If everything goes according to plan, Glen Taylor and Jimmy Butler are expected to find a trade partner before the Timberwolves practice on Tuesday. This could mean that Minnesota will become “more aggressive” on Sunday and Monday as they try to shop Butler around and look for a plausible offer. Taylor is also expected to review the offers to make sure the Timberwolves get the “best possible return,” and to find out if there are any teams Butler would want to re-sign for once his contract comes up next summer. However, ESPN added that there are “several” teams who wouldn’t mind acquiring Butler as a potential one-year rental who would decide against re-signing for them in the summer of 2019.
Given how Timberwolves general manager Scott Layden has reportedly been rejecting trade calls for Jimmy Butler, sources familiar with the situation told Wojnarowski that Taylor wants to trade Butler even if Layden is allegedly shutting down inquiries.
“The owner’s trading him,” said one source from the NBA’s board of governors.
“That was made clear. It’s just a matter of when. [Taylor] basically said, ‘If you don’t get anywhere with [Layden], and you’ve got something good, bring it to me.”
Despite averaging 22.2 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 4.9 assists and helping lead the Minnesota Timberwolves to their first playoff appearance in 13 years, Jimmy Butler has frequently been rumored to be at odds with fellow top scorers Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins. With Towns having signed a five-year, $190 million contract extension earlier in the week, many sources, including Yahoo Sports, have predicted that this is a sign Butler will be leaving the Timberwolves sooner rather than later, and that the team has “taken a side” after months of rumored rifts between Butler and his star teammates.