What kind of return can the Minnesota Timberwolves land for Jimmy Butler? If head coach Tom Thibodeau has his way, they’re win-now players.
Thibodeau, who is also the president of basketball operations for the team, was told that Butler prefers to be traded to the New York Knicks, Brooklyn Nets or Los Angeles Clippers. But the organization can ship him anywhere, especially if another team can send a better trade package that will help the team.
However, it seems Thibodeau wants assets that will help sooner than later. Here is what Sean Deveney reported about what kind of return the front office is seeking for Butler (via Sporting News):
“According to multiple league sources, coach Tom Thibodeau has no intention of letting Butler go for young, rebuilding-type pieces. Thibodeau, hotly pursued as a coaching free agent after leaving Chicago in 2015, went to Minnesota because he thought the team would be ready to contend quickly. Butler, acquired last summer in a trade with the Bulls, had become part of that thought process. Thibodeau has zero interest in taking a step back with Minnesota, even, according to sources, if it means he ultimately parts ways with the team.”
Rival executives reportedly believe that Thibodeau has no interest in coaching a team that would end up in the lottery of the 2019 NBA Draft. Minnesota is clearly trying to return to the postseason for the second straight year, something last done in 2004.
This means that veterans on the Clippers including Tobias Harris, Patrick Beverley and Lou Williams immediately come to mind. Even though the Timberwolves have a fondness for Avery Bradley, both he and Luc Mbah a Moute cannot be traded until December because they signed new contracts this summer.
The Knicks could offer Courtney Lee, but not much else that would help the team contend next season.
Brooklyn would likely offer a deal centered around DeMarre Carroll as well as Caris LeVert. It may not make much sense for Minnesota to acquire younger options like D’Angelo Russell or Rondae Hollis-Jefferson because they will require new contracts this summer. With that being said, it would be interesting to pair Russell with his longtime friend Karl-Anthony Towns.
Towns and Russell were picked No. 1 and No. 2 overall in the 2015 NBA Draft and this would likely encourage Towns to finally sign his contract extension with Minnesota. Towns had been reportedly holding out on doing so until the situation with Butler was resolved.
It’s unclear if Russell or any of the players mentioned above would convince Thibodeau to stay at his post with the Timberwolves. But the team will have to make the deal that is best for the future of their franchise, whatever it may be — or from whichever team may offer it.
If that’s moving the timeline back to one where Towns and potentially even Andrew Wiggins are in their primes, Thibodeau may decide to walk. It would be an entirely new look for Minnesota, but it might actually be what’s in their best interest.
DunkWire, Andrew Wiggins, Avery Bradley, Caris LeVert, Courtney Lee, D'Angelo Russell, Jimmy Butler, Karl-Anthony Towns, Lou Williams, Patrick Beverley, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Spencer Dinwiddie, Tom Thibodeau, Brooklyn Nets, Los Angeles Clippers, Minnesota Timberwolves, New York Knicks