Shams Charania of the Athletic broke the news earlier today:
Jimmy Butler has requested a trade from the Minnesota Timberwolves, league sources tell me and @JonKrawczynski. Butler has given Minnesota a list of one-to-three teams with whom he's open to signing extension, in anticipation of trade.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) September 19, 2018
Report: Jimmy Butler Requests Trade from Minnesota Timberwolves
Butler is a four-time All-Star and led the Timberwolves with 22.2 points per game last season. A four-time All-Defensive player, Butler is known for being one of the elite defenders in the NBA. Despite making the playoffs, Minnesota fell short of expectations last season. They earned the 8th seed and lost in five games to the Houston Rockets. Not soon after, there were reports that Butler was fed up with teammate Karl-Anthony Towns.
Butler is entering the last year of his contract, so teams may be hesitant to give up a lot of assets for him unless they know he will sign an extension. The three teams that he is willing to sign with are reportedly the New York Knicks, Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Clippers.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN broke the news earlier today:
Minnesota's Jimmy Butler has three preferred destinations for a trade, league sources tell ESPN: The Brooklyn Nets, Los Angeles Clippers and New York Knicks. Those three teams have max cap space to sign Butler as a free agent in July.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) September 19, 2018
Let’s dissect each landing spot.
Los Angeles Clippers
The Clippers can offer Butler a chance to play in Los Angeles and have the cap space to add another star such as Kawhi Leonard to pair with him next summer. They also have to pieces to surround him with a playoff contender this year. While their roster lacks a star, they have a surplus of good players such as Tobias Harris, Lou Williams, Luc Mbah a Moute, and Avery Bradley, who are coming off a 42-win season.
They can offer Tom Thibodeau veteran players like Danilo Gallinari, Patrick Beverley, Williams and attach young assets such as the Jerome Robinson and second-year players Sindarius Thornwell and Jawun Evans. It’s possible that Jerry West and the front office will be hesitant to part with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander or Harris, but they are players that will pique Minnesota’s interest. A package of Gallinari, Beverley, Robinson and Evans in exchange for Butler and Taj Gibson is a trade that could make sense for both sides.
New York Knicks
The Knicks could be on the verge of building an elite team. Kristaps Porzingis is already one of the best big men in the league, but promising rookies Kevin Knox and Mitchell Robinson could eventually make them a force in the East. New York offers Butler the chance to be in a big market and return to the easier Eastern Conference. However, while the Knicks roster is talented, it is still filled with question marks. There have been reports that Porzingis could miss the entire 2018-19 season, and while Knox and Robinson are good they are still only rookies. Butler would need more patience with this team, but in time they could become a legitimate contender.
There are not as many trade options with the Knicks. I doubt they would give up Knox or Robinson, so conversations should begin with guard Frank Ntilikina. The Knicks could package him with Emmanuel Mudiay and Courtney Lee to make the salaries work. New York owns all of their own future first rounders, as well.
The Nets still present Butler the opportunity to play in New York and could also have the cap space to sign another max player next summer. Sean Marks and the Nets front office have done a great job at acquiring assets despite their circumstances. That work could finally pay off. The Nets could start out with an offer of DeMarre Carroll, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and a first-round pick. However, the Timberwolves will probably try to get players such as D’Angelo Russell and Spencer Dinwiddie included in the package. The Nets or any of these three teams for that matter could always decide the asking price is too high and try to sign him next summer, but there are always risks using that approach as we saw recently with Paul George.