After weeks of seriously contemplating his future in Minnesota, Butler requested a trade from the Timberwolves and informed Thibodeau of his decision on Tuesday in a meeting in Los Angeles, league sources told The Athletic. Players within the locker room first began to hear whispers of Butler’s plans last week, according to sources. Butler has given the Timberwolves a list of teams that could interest him. The Brooklyn Nets, New York Knicks, Los Angeles Clippers are expected as desired destination, and could extend to the Miami Heat and others, sources said. He’s long held a level of desire to potentially play in Los Angeles, a scenario those around him discussed internally as a Bulls free agent in 2015.
Brooklyn and the Clippers appear motivated on Butler, while the Knicks have been firm all summer that the team does not want to part with assets and instead prioritize signing free agents outright, according to sources. The Timberwolves spent the entire offseason turning down any discussion or inquiry on Butler — and now would be wise to target controllable contracts and assets in any trade. “The price on [Butler] is difficult to pay now, when you can wait and sign him in July,” one team executive told The Athletic, regarding Butler hoping to be traded to a specific destination.
The Clippers, Knicks and Nets have differing levels of interest in Butler as a free agent, each prioritizing him in different ways, league sources said. ... Butler, 30, wants the five-year, $190 million maximum extension that could come with a trade to a new team, but there is some reluctance to teams to commit $40 million-plus annually as Butler reaches his mid-30's, league sources told ESPN.
Adrian Wojnarowski: 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.
July 31, 2021 | 6:10 pm EDT Update
Jordan Schultz: #Lakers are “very interested” in the prospect of signing Carmelo Anthony, per a league source. Melo has been linked to the Lakers as a possibility, given his friendship w/LeBron dating back to high school. Anthony drilled a career-best 40.9 percent from 3 last season w/Portland.
Will Guillory: The Pelicans have declined the team option on forward Didi Louzada, per league source. The 2019 2nd round pick played 3 games with the Pels last season after spending a couple years in Australia.
Andrew Lopez: Pelicans have declined the team option on Didi Louzada, sources confirm. However, sources say the team also extended a qualifying offer to Louzada with the hope of keeping him long term.
July 31, 2021 | 5:23 pm EDT Update
As it turns out, the Celtics’ trade for Josh Richardson may have been insurance for a free-agent priority that is not working out so well. According to a league source, negotiations between the Celtics and Evan Fournier are close to stalling, with the team unwilling to meet the valuable wing player’s asking price of $80 million over four years.
Though it’s unclear what the Celtics are offering, “it’s not looking good,” said the source. As evidenced by reports that the Knicks and Fournier have developed a mutual interest, the Celtics now face stiff competition.