Minnesota Timberwolves star Jimmy Butler has reportedly requested a trade and would sign a contract extension with “one to three” teams.
The 29-year-old will become a free agent next offseason after playing just one year with the Timberwolves. He met with his head coach and president of basketball operations Tom Thibodeau on Tuesday, according to reports, and told the organization he wants out.
While The Athletic’s Shams Charania did not include the list of the teams, other reporters including ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski have provided some of their research to see which franchises Butler would re-sign with once his contract expires.
Minnesota has no obligation to trade him to any of the teams but they would get the most value from these front offices considering they’d have the most assurance of his return.
All three of the teams play in large media markets and could have ample cap space to make another key signing next summer. Rumors have swirled that Butler would like to team up with Boston’s Kyrie Irving, who will also be a free agent once the season is over.
It’s unclear what kind of package Minnesota would be most interested in from any of these three teams, though Brooklyn likely has the most to offer with Caris LeVert as the most appealing option. If the Nets were willing to provide D’Angelo Russell, it would offer Minnesota an opportunity to pair him with longtime friend Karl-Anthony Towns.
There are, of course, several other teams worth watching when such a big name becomes available. The Toronto Raptors, Denver Nuggets and the Philadelphia 76ers all may feel they are just one piece away from making a deep run in the postseason.
The Los Angeles Lakers would likely be interested as well but would not be able to make key moves until mid-December when they could trade their free agents signed this summer. It’s also worth mentioning that the Miami Heat, as they were briefly linked in rumors to Butler as well.
Perhaps a wildcard could emerge to pursue him as well, as truly nothing can be counted out in the NBA.