Several teams around the league have privately questioned whether the Wolves are truly interested in finding a trade for a player that was the central figure in Thibodeau’s plans to rebuild the team. Thibodeau and GM Scott Layden have driven a hard bargain for their four-time All-Star, not wanting to give him up for pennies on the dollar and take a massive step back heading into a season that could be make-or-break for their regime.
Jimmy Butler has returned to Minnesota and reiterated his desire to be traded in a meeting with president and coach Tom Thibodeau on Monday, league sources told The Athletic. Barring a change in the dwindling trade market between now and the season opener in San Antonio on Oct. 17, the Timberwolves are making preparations to start the season with Butler on the roster, league sources said.
Butler has not practiced with the team since training camp opened on Sept. 25, just over a week after he first met with Thibodeau to personally deliver his trade request. He was at the facility on Monday, sources said. The Wolves have had conversations with a number of teams — most notably with the Miami Heat, who have discussed frameworks around the promising Josh Richardson — but have yet to close a deal.
Players have tired of the constant questions about Butler’s status. The cloud has hung over the franchise for three weeks now, and it’s clear that they have enough to worry about with their performances in the preseason. “It’s tough but you have to just circle the wagons like Thibs said,” Gibson said. “I’m just focusing right now on whoever is here because you have to understand we have a strong group of guys that come in here, put a lot of time and work in.
Teague has said Butler is a “good friend” but doesn’t want to get involved in what he has going on off the court. “I really don’t pay attention to much,” Teague said. “Just kind of stick to myself and do what I’m supposed to do. Stay out of everybody’s way and I just enjoy the process, I honestly do.”
That the talks collapsed twice in such a short span should be surprising to no one who has followed the Wolves throughout Taylor's quarter-century of ownership. The same Taylor who held onto Kevin Garnett and then-General Manager Kevin McHale for too long. Who allowed himself to be talked into hiring the thoroughly ill-prepared David Kahn as McHale's replacement. Who could have escaped his Butler nightmare by accepting a package from Miami that would have been headlined by the promising Heat swingman Josh Richardson and a protected first-round pick.
Numerous teams have complained in recent days that Thibodeau and Layden are acting like two men who really don’t want to make a deal. But that hasn’t stopped the Heat from engaging in numerous rounds of talks with the Wolves and presenting them with what appears to be a pretty palatable offer given Minnesota’s distinct lack of leverage. Miami, Brooklyn and the Los Angeles Clippers are the teams known to most interest Butler in the long-term. The fact that one of those three is willing to furnish a young player as highly rated as Richardson, along with a potential first-round pick, would enable the Wolves to recoup a good bit of what they gave up (Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn and the draft pick that became Lauri Markkanen) to acquire Butler.
As lifeless and distracted as the Wolves have looked during the exhibition season, can you imagine Butler, Towns and Wiggins trying to co-exist long enough for Taylor to find a trade he’s willing to sanction? Toronto, Houston, Boston, San Antonio, Philadelphia and, of course, LeBron James’ Los Angeles Lakers — there are so many teams, for so many intriguing reasons, we should be obsessing over as opening night draws near. There’s also the small matter of the Golden State Warriors preparing to work in the mercurial DeMarcus Cousins as they chase a fourth championship in five seasons.
Multiple reports have the Rockets eliminated from contention, despite offering a package rumored to be as big as Eric Gordon, P.J. Tucker, and several draft picks. The reasoning for Houston being ruled out isn’t because of the deal, but because, reportedly, Minnesota doesn’t want the Rockets to become the kind of juggernaut the Western Conference already has in Golden State. “We already are at [that level],” Feritta says in a phone call. “We’re an improved team over last year based on who we’ve acquired this offseason. And last year, obviously, we’re a game away from the Finals. “We would love to see Jimmy come home to Houston. It’s not a financial decision, it’s an assets decision on our part. We’ve got a great basketball team. We think we’re as good as anybody in the league. We’re not going to give up unreasonable assets, to break up this team, to get Jimmy Butler. But we would love to have him.”
While Houston continues to explore its options in the Jimmy Butler saga and has significant interest in landing the disgruntled Minnesota star, strong skepticism remains that the Timberwolves are seriously dedicated to finding a deal. So long as that remains the case, with so many executives convinced that president of basketball operations/coach Tom Thibodeau still wants Butler to stay despite the uncomfortable nature of it all, then these Rockets will have to prepare as if there is no more help on the way. Translation: The prospect of Anthony playing like a legitimate star again would be welcomed. He has plenty of personal incentive, too, as he’ll be a free agent again next summer after signing a one-year, $2.4 million deal with Houston (Anthony was traded by the Thunder to Atlanta in a three-team deal with Philadelphia, then bought out by the Hawks; he’s still slated to earn the $27.9 million he was owed for next season between the buyout and his Rockets deal).
Jon Krawczynski: Jimmy Butler has returned to Minnesota, and in a meeting with Tom Thibodeau on Monday, reiterated his desire to be traded, league sources tell me and @ShamsCharania
Jon Krawczynski: Butler had been away from the team while the Wolves were on the West Coast, and was still not in town when they returned last week. As trade talks have slowed, there is still no change in his desire to move.
But the Clippers have yet to offer Tobias Harris in any package, sources said. It is believed that the Wolves are looking at Harris to headline any potential Clippers deal, just like they are looking at Richardson to be the main cog in a deal with Miami.
The Heat, Clippers, 76ers and Nets are among other teams to have expressed privately their misgivings about the Wolves’ intentions, league sources have said. But they also could have expected Minnesota to fold much more quickly on a deal given the circumstances.
It may seem obvious, but this is the first place to start. Butler has never wavered on his stance that he wants to be traded from the Timberwolves, league sources told The Athletic, even after several attempts by Thibodeau to convince him to rejoin the team and play this season out.
Butler was in Los Angeles hanging out last week when the Wolves were in town to face the Clippers. He dined with several teammates and has been texting players like Taj Gibson and Josh Okogie with messages of encouragement while he has been away. But he remains determined to force a move and is hopeful a deal is struck before the season begins so he can get back on the court and get going, sources said.
He has been working out on his own while the team has excused him from practices and preseason games, but the conditioning that comes from playing in games is on a different level.
Although the Butler drama has seemingly put the organization in a bind, Thibodeau warned against letting it become more of a distraction than it already is. "Focus on the people that are here and get ready to play. That's it," Minnesota coach Tom Thibodeau said before the game. "We've got a long season, and if you look you can get distracted very easily, so focus is very important. This team has been through a lot in the last year. I think they're ready to handle whatever is thrown our way."
Jeff Zillgitt: To borrow a phrase my mom used to yell at me, the Heat have had it up to here with the Timberwolves, I'm told. Doesn't mean talks can't be resurrected, but exasperated is polite way to describe Heat in this situation.
Talks between the two teams could restart again, but it appears there would need to be a resetting process between Miami and Minnesota, league sources said. Minnesota has been engaged with no serious talks elsewhere on Butler, with teams believing that a Miami deal was inevitable and the Timberwolves steep asking price often remaining a non-starter in talks, league sources said. Butler is a four-time All-Star who has told Minnesota that he'll leave in free agency in July -- and wants a trade now.
Asked what the Wolves are seeking, a Heat source said: “The first born of all our kids.” Still, the source declined to rule out the possibility of a deal still happening if Minnesota lessens its demands.
The Wolves are believed to be asking for several of the assets the Heat considers most valuable: Josh Richardson, Bam Adebayo, Goran Dragic, Kelly Olynyk, Justise Winslow and a No. 1 pick. Miami had shown willingness to include Richardson after initially balking, according to a source.
Shams Charania: Sources on @TheAthleticNBA @WatchStadium: Minnesota and Miami have seriously discussed several frameworks of a potential deal for Jimmy Butler, including ones with Heat's Josh Richardson. Medicals shared both ways. Timberwolves do not appear any closer a deal.
Owner Glen Taylor is pushing president of basketball operations and coach Tom Thibodeau and general manager Scott Layden to find a deal sooner than later for Butler, league sources said. Minnesota had really pushed Miami to include Richardson in any proposed deal. Richardson, 25, is considered a strong, young two-way player. He averaged 12.9 points in 81 starts last season. He's in the first season of a four-year, $42 million contract.
Minnesota had shared Butler's medical information with Miami late in the week, sources said, a typical last step before finalizing a trade. Minnesota owner Glen Taylor and Miami owner Micky Arison had become involved in the talks and there was hope that a trade call with the league office could finalize a deal soon -- until Minnesota moved to amend the framework of the trade and talks collapsed on Saturday, league sources said.
Adrian Wojnarowski: ESPN Sources: Minnesota-Miami talks escalated close to a Jimmy Butler deal over weekend – only to see trade fall apart. Minnesota shared Butler’s medical info with Miami, owners were involved and sides prepared to finalize. Minnesota pushed for more, talks fractured.
While Houston continues to explore its options in the Jimmy Butler saga and has significant interest in landing the disgruntled Minnesota star, strong skepticism remains that the Timberwolves are seriously dedicated to finding a deal. So long as that remains the case, with so many executives convinced that president of basketball operations/coach Tom Thibodeau still wants Butler to stay despite the uncomfortable nature of it all, then these Rockets will have to prepare as if there is no more help on the way.
The Minnesota Timberwolves and Los Angeles Clippers have had ongoing discussions about a trade centered around All-Star forward Jimmy Butler, league sources told Yahoo Sports. The Timberwolves’ asking price has been deemed too high thus far, with multiple players and picks being requested, sources said.
In any deal with the Clippers, Minnesota would prefer to acquire forward Tobias Harris, sources said. Various trade packages have been proposed on both sides, but the Clippers do not intend to trade Harris, sources said. The Timberwolves’ brass hasn’t fully engaged the Clippers’ pitches, sources said, because it is believed that president of basketball operations/head coach Tom Thibodeau is holding out hope that he can persuade Butler to rescind his trade request.
Jon Krawczynski: Jeff Teague was asked how Jimmy would fit back into the locker room if he came back: “it would be nice. That’s my friend. But that’s not up to me.”
Christopher Hine: Today’s Jimmy Butler update Question to Tom Thibodeau:”How do you feel about the ongoing discussions?” A: “They’re ongoing.” End of press scrum.
Adrian Wojnarowski: While Minnesota-Miami talks on Jimmy Butler continued today, there's no deal imminent tonight, league sources tell ESPN.
Timberwolves executives told other interested teams in the past 24 hours that they didn't have any offers that met the franchise's criteria to honor Butler's trade request and planned to hold on to him until a deal met their requirements, league sources said. Miami is one of the preferred destinations of Butler's, league sources said. He has told the Wolves that he'll leave the team in July free agency, and has expressed interest in several teams with max salary space, including the LA Clippers, Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks.
During “The Scoop” segment with Darren Wolfson on Wednesday on 1500 ESPN, he mentioned that while the Wolves could fine Jimmy Butler for not practicing with the team they weren’t doing so as a “good faith move with the hope he will rejoin them, even if it’s for a short time.” Butler has made it clear he wants out of Minnesota after one season and has told the organization that if he isn’t traded he will leave as a free agent next summer. Butler did report to training camp but was excused from the early practice sessions as he recovered from offseason surgery on his right wrist.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Miami, Minnesota have been consistently engaged in Jimmy Butler talks for several days, with Heat pushing Timberwolves for an answer today on a revised offer, league sources tell ESPN. Minnesota’s conversations are relatively sparse elsewhere; remain focused on Miami.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Sources: Barring a trade, Tom Thibodeau is still determined to get Butler back with the team for start of season. Butler hasn't made a final decision on when he'll join team and practice, but he doesn't plan to miss regular season games if his wrist is healthy.
Darren Wolfson: It's also why the #Twolves aren't fining Butler, which they could. Good faith move with the hope that he will rejoin them, even if it's for a short time. Sort of comparable to 'Melo in Denver in 2010. Asked for a trade in late August, was moved months later at the deadline.
Marc Stein: As @NYTSports reported last week, Wolves ownership has been notified that Miami is Jimmy Butler's preferred destination, which is significant given that Butler becomes a free agent July 1
Darren Wolfson: Had a mutual friend of ours in the league say today that he heard the Wolves asked Miami for both Richardson and Bam. But couldn't confirm from another contact. But falls in line with what @Marc Stein has tonight.
Darren Wolfson: "My understanding is, from talking to numerous league officials - league sources, front-office folks, a coach, actually, a couple of coaching sources - that the Timberwolves have all the parameters of the deals that they can make. So it's on the Wolves at some point here to say yes. Now, do they wait a little bit longer just to see if some team adds some player in, like Miami? Miami is not willing to move Josh Richardson. But in the end, do they offer Josh Richardson? I talked about that on a recent podcast, that some league people thought yeah, at the end, Pat Riley would make him available when you have the chance to acquire a star like Jimmy Butler. But so far, as of Oct. 2nd, no sense whatsoever that Miami is making Josh Richardson available. Same goes for Bam Adebayo."
Darren Wolfson: "Now, league folks still say to keep an eye on Miami. That Miami wants him the most, that he wants to be in Miami—not that the Wolves care about that but, hey, if he wants to be in Miami and Miami wants him, that eventually you can find some sort of happy medium, find a way to complete a trade."
Darren Wolfson: "Is Goran Dragic available [in exchange for Jimmy Butler]? Yeah, the Wolves could acquire Goran Dragic. Is Hassan Whiteside available? Yeah, the Wolves could acquire Hassan Whiteside. From Houston, you can get Eric Gordon. You can get PJ Tucker. The Rockets want Jimmy Butler. The Bucks are willing to offer Malcolm Brogdon, Eric Bledsoe—the Bucks still have interest in Jimmy Butler, but they're not willing to move Khris Middleton. ... The Clippers are also still very, very interested in Jimmy Butler."
Anthony Chiang: FWIW: Among the scouts expected to be at tonight's Heat-Hornets preseason game is Minnesota Timberwolves scout Pete Mickeal. Neither team plays Minnesota until December.
Thibodeau said the status of Jimmy Butler, who requested a trade Sept. 18, remains a “fluid situation.” Thibodeau said Sept. 24 that Butler needed a week to continue rehabilitating a surgically repaired right hand but that he expected Butler to rejoin the team when that week was up. However, Butler was not with the team in Los Angeles for practice Monday.
Ethan J. Skolnick: "I heard that the last offer [the Miami Heat made for Jimmy Butler] was on Thursday morning. Coincidentally... it was a little coincidental to me that two reports came out of Houston right after the Heat made their final offer. That, to me, strikes me as Minnesota was [leaking] stuff out—that somebody else was interested. Because a couple of those reports on Friday night were like, 'A deal is gonna get done by midnight.' We're sitting here talking on Monday, there's been no deal."
Ethan J. Skolnick: "So I don't think there's a market for Jimmy Butler right now because the teams that I thought could get really involved here—Philadelphia, I've heard they haven't put Dario Saric on the table, they haven't put Markelle Fultz on the table. You're not making a deal without putting those two guys on the table. ... The Clippers, I've heard, have not put Tobias Harris on the table, and I don't know what else they're front-lining a deal with. I've heard all along [the Clippers/Butler stuff] is overstated."
According to league sources, Butler and his representatives are increasingly frustrated with Minnesota’s handling of trade talks and seriously question whether the Timberwolves – from longtime owner Glen Taylor on down — are truly trying to find a deal.
All across the NBA, with more than half the league having shown varying levels of interest in landing the four-time All-Star, the feedback coming Butler’s way remains the same: Minnesota’s asking price is far too high, inter-team communication is sometimes an exercise in futility, and the counter-offers that the Timberwolves have provided are, as Butler’s side sees it, downright delusional.
After the meeting, the source said, their recollections about what had been said couldn’t have been more different. Butler, who takes great pride in his willingness to be brutally honest even when the truth might hurt, believed he had made it clear that he wanted out. But Thibodeau, whose stubbornness is nothing short of legendary, swears he didn’t see it that way and continued hoping that the situation could be rectified.
Mark Medina: The T-Wolves game notes listing Jimmy Butler out tonight because of offseason surgery on his right wrist. I wonder if there's another reason 🤔
Connor Letourneau: Steve Kerr on preparing for a Jimmy Butler-less Timberwolves team: "Honestly, we don't. It's the first game of the preseason. We don't prepare for them."
Adrian Wojnarowski: “I think the Knicks so far have stayed on the sideline [in Jimmy Butler trade talks] on this one. The Nets and Clippers have talked with Minnesota, and Minnesota’s asking price has been so high—and I think the question for both the Clippers and Nets is this: One, does getting Butler help you get a second star, a bigger star? Does it help you—and I think this is a question more for the Clippers—does Butler lead to Kawhi Leonard? Does he potentially lead to Kevin Durant? I think Kawhi is more realistic for the Clippers than Durant but we’ll see how things play in Golden State this year and where they are.”
Adrian Wojnarowski: “I know Minnesota was telling teams last week, ‘We’ve got an offer we really, really like. We’ve got an offer we’d do.’ Nobody believed them. Like, nobody believed them. And part of the problem for that Minnesota front office is, one GM/executive said to me, ‘In normal circumstances, they’re the most difficult in the league to deal with. In normal circumstances, they’re usually very unrealistic about what they can get back from you in a deal. Under these circumstances? They’re exponentially more difficult to deal with.’ And I wonder how that cat-and-mouse game plays out when you’re trying to create a marketplace for a player.”
"At the end of the day, you've got to look at it from a player's standpoint and a business standpoint," Gibson told ESPN after Friday's practice. "He's trying to do what he got to do but everybody's calling him. It's more of a [situation where] I've got to go see him kind of thing. But I worked out with him all summer so when I said what I meant, it was like a right hook, I didn't see it coming.”
"Now in the NBA, everybody has a little bit of freedom to do a little more of what they want," Rose told ESPN. "And he's expressing that he don't want to be here and he want to go somewhere else. I mean Kawhi [Leonard] did it last year, didn't he? Like he just didn't play. Jimmy just came out and said he didn't want to play here. I had so much [stuff] going on I couldn't even focus on what was really going on with the team.”
Tom Thibodeau didn’t much feel like talking about Butler, preferring to talk about the “players who are here.” Thibodeau indicated, however, that Butler’s trade request hasn’t much affected their relationship. “That’s the NBA. That’s part of everyone’s job,” Thibodeau said. “Don’t allow yourself to be distracted. You have to be focused on what your job is. My job is to do what’s best for the Timberwolves and that’s what we’re going to do.”
“That’s part of being a pro,” Thibodeau said. “So in this league there could be distractions every day if you allow it, so it’s important to understand how to approach your job and I think we have a good mix of veterans who have been through it and they understand how important training camp is and getting ready for the season.”
The Wolves asked about Josh Richardson, but the Heat - as of Thursday - was not interested in including him, according to a league source.
Ethan J. Skolnick: Jimmy Butler update: Multiple sources have told @5ReasonsSports & @FusaroESPN today that the Heat made what they deemed a "final offer" to the Wolves on Thursday morning & told the Wolves to sort out their situation..... It is not clear if that has changed since....
Ethan J. Skolnick: Two other league sources have told @5ReasonsSports that the Heat and Rockets were the teams most engaged in trade conversations with the Wolves to that point. There is also a belief the Clippers could change the equation if they offer more. Mostly, teams are waiting on Thibodeau.
Drafted 21st overall and acquired in a trade by Flip Saunders on Draft Night 2013, Gorgui Dieng is the longest-tenured player on the 2018-19 Minnesota Timberwolves roster. He is also the most likely player on the roster not named Jimmy Butler to be traded in the coming days, according to league sources.
The Minnesota Timberwolves reportedly sought Ben Simmons in a potential Jimmy Butler trade with the Philadelphia 76ers. Appearing on The Bill Simmons Podcast on Thursday, The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor explained just how high the Timberwolves' asking price is for their disgruntled shooting guard: "One of the things that I've heard from a handful of sources is that—with the Sixers for example—the initial offer that they made, the counter-offer was like, 'We need Ben Simmons in a deal.'"
Sam Amick: All the noise about Jimmy Butler yesterday was about Miami, but it’s clear Minnesota’s price tag remains extremely high. To highlight one rumored team, I’m told Philly is currently completely out of the JB situation and has never had any traction after preliminary discussions.
Sam Amick: The Kings remain interested in serving as a third team, with focus on landing a 2019 first rounder. But as of late last night, no scenarios were even remotely firm. Prospect of bad contracts coming their way is in play, but they’ll be cautious about impacting future flexibility.
The Minnesota Timberwolves' asking price to trade All-Star forward Jimmy Butler remains quality veterans, top prospects, future assets and salary-cap relief, which is presently too steep of a package for interested teams, league sources told ESPN. Throughout trade talks, Minnesota Timberwolves president and coach Tom Thibodeau has continued to try to recruit Butler to ease off his trade demand and return to practice with the team, league sources said. Butler has yet to attend a Timberwolves workout and wants to sit out until the franchise executes a trade for him.
Mike Fisher: I mean, I just talked to #Mavs officials this am. They say they have NOT jumped into Jimmy Butler trade talks w Minn. So maybe ‘gauged price’ means they’ve simply had in-house discussion. pic.twitter.com/YTZ9UzJXGQ
Adrian Wojnarowski: ESPN Reporting w/ Zach Lowe: Minnesota’s asking price for Jimmy Butler remains too steep for teams. Minny seeks quality vets/top prospects/future assets/cap relief. Too high a price for interested teams, including Miami. Sources are skeptical of Thibodeau’s desire to make deal.
Caris LeVert is unlikely to be going anywhere anytime soon. “First two days of training camp, he’s been fantastic, quite honestly. I’m going to call it like it is,” coach Kenny Atkinson said of LeVert. “I don’t really get into that type of stuff too much,” LeVert said. “Obviously as a player, it’s good to feel wanted, and it’s good for other people to acknowledge what you’ve been doing on the court. But, like I said, I don’t get into that too much. I love it here in Brooklyn, and I want to play here a long time.”
Ira Winderman: To follow up amid reports of Heat cancelling evening practice amid Butler buzz: Heat wanted to and were preparing to practice, but the court time preferred at FAU was not available, so held a team meeting. Same was the case on Tuesday night. He instead went longer Wed. morning.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Sources: Phoenix did check w/ Minnesota on cost of getting involved on a Jimmy Butler trade, but asking price was far too steep for Suns. So far, there's been no communication on Teague or Dragic in a 3-way, but that could always change if Miami-Minnesota go deeper into talks.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Sources: Miami has been the most engaged team with Minnesota on a Jimmy Butler trade. So far, no traction with Clippers and Nets. Houston's tried to be creative in its pursuit. It'll be a challenge -- although not impossible -- to get any Butler deal done without a third team.
Barry Jackson: Brian Windhorst reporting Spoelstra is pushing for Jimmy Butler deal. As we've noted over the past week, Spoelstra loves Butler, so this wouldn't be surprising.
Five Reasons Sports Network: Chasing more right now, but we can report this with multiple league sources as a network: The Heat have been aggressively trying to move Dion Waiters, even if it's not directly for Jimmy Butler. Similar to what @LeBatardShow said this morning. Different sources, I suspect.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Phoenix's pursuit of a starting point guard could factor into the Jimmy Butler trade discussions as a potential third-team partner, league sources tell ESPN. If Minnesota trades for Goran Dragic in a Miami/Butler scenario, that could make Wolves PG Jeff Teague available for Suns.
Meanwhile, the Heat continues to aggressively pursue a trade for the four-time All-Star, who has asked for a trade and informed the Timberwolves that he would not re-sign with them as a free agent next summer. An executive with another Eastern Conference team said he believes Miami is the leading contender for Butler but that wasn’t based on anything the Wolves have told him.
Marc Stein: Jimmy Butler and his agent Bernie Lee have informed Wolves ownership that Miami is Butler's preferred trade destination, league sources say
Marc Stein: The Heat have pursued Butler as aggressively as any of the 20-plus teams to inquire thus far but, like many, have found it hard to get Minnesota to clearly communicate. League sources say Miami is a team that strongly appeals to the free agent-to-be Butler after a trade
How hard would it be for the Nets to sacrifice assets for Butler, who wants a five-year max deal worth $190 million from the team that trades for him? “I don’t even think of that,” Atkinson said. “I let Sean think of those big-picture things, especially now in training camp. I do know players change in this league, and we’ve had changes in the past.”
“Honestly, guys are not really talking about it,” Crabbe said. “As long as I have a Brooklyn Nets jersey on, it’s about us continuing to get better and accomplishing those goals we have set for ourselves for the season. “I feel secure and I feel like, if anything did come up, I’m pretty sure they’ll pull me aside or notify my agent. But I haven’t heard anything.”
The rumor mill is in full force. Jimmy Butler and the Minnesota Timberwolves are having a messy breakup and it’s only going to get worse from here. According to an NBA source, the Kings are listening and even willing to participate in a large scale trade involving the Timberwolves and others, but only if it benefits the team both in the short-term and down the road.
Sacramento has been reluctant to add major contracts beyond this season. They have an estimated $60 million in room next summer and hope to jump into the free agent market with both feet. But the time to strike might come earlier if the right package of players and assets come available.
While Thibodeau said on Monday that last week was the first time Butler made a trade request, the warning signs of discontent were there much earlier. After the Rockets eliminated the Timberwolves in the first round of the playoffs in May, Butler did not fly with the team back to Minnesota, sources said. He took a flight to Los Angeles shortly after the game was over and refused to do the standard medical exam all players go through as part of their exit interviews.
A few days later, he started conveying his concern for the franchise and casting doubts on his willingness to stay long-term. Butler can become a free agent after this season, and his representatives talked with Thibodeau in July about his unwillingness to re-sign in Minnesota, sources said. Butler conveyed the same message directly to Thibodeau in August when the coach came to California to visit him after he had hand surgery, sources said.
Barry Jackson: Minnesota coach Tom Thibodeau today, on Jimmy Butler's trade request: "We're going to honor his request but we're not going to do a bad deal.... We're trying to make the best deal for the Timberwolves."
Christopher Hine: Tom Thibodeau declined to talk about any discussions he had with Jimmy Butler yesterday. Said the organization is still working to honor Butler’s trade request.
Through it all, Butler has been adamant that nothing has changed or will change in his approach. He wants out today and will want out tomorrow and the day after that, sources told The Athletic. “We’re not going to be pressured into a bad deal,” Thibodeau said on Monday in his first public comments since the trade request was made.
Zach Lowe: Pitched in on this @Adrian Wojnarowski Wolves/Butler report late last night -- I can't remember teams trying to engage in trade talks being this confused/frustrated with the team trading the main player in question: espn.com/nba/story/_/id…
It’s easy to understand why he would welcome superstar Jimmy Butler with open arms. He’s a good guy who wants to win. It’s in his DNA, Hollis-Jefferson believes. But there’s also been a lot about how he doesn’t get along with young players, has coach issues. “If he [Jimmy Butler] comes, we’d love to have him. If not, we’ll just keep working and doing what we do best,” Hollis-Jefferson said of the Butler at Media Day.
September 21, 2021 | 6:41 pm EDT Update
September 21, 2021 | 5:44 pm EDT Update
Cody Taylor: The Magic announced that they have signed Admiral Schofield ahead of the start of training camp, which begins on Sept. 28.
Oleh Kosel: On latest Lowe Post podcast, Bobby Marks says he heard Josh Hart’s contract took so long to get signed because Pelicans were in holding pattern due to potential penalties from Lonzo Ball trade. “Did we need to use him maybe in a sign-&-trade to recoup maybe a 1st round pick?”
Sean Cunningham: Davion Mitchell says he feels like a rookie because he’s still learning all the new faces surrounding his Kings team, even though De’Aaron Fox said the Baylor product doesn’t seem like a rookie because he’s older. “Fox kind of took me under his wing.” pic.twitter.com/4YLryWCj2S
A month ago, Nets general manager Sean Marks expressed his confidence in signing James Harden and Kyrie Irving to contract extensions by the start of training camp, which is a week away. On Tuesday, he admitted he might need a little more time than he first thought. “We’ve had very positive conversations with both those guys, and whether it’s family members, people and so forth, I think it always helps to do these things in person,” Marks said. “With this being summer, we’re very cognizant of letting people have their own time away before we all get back into the swing of things here. We’re looking forward to sitting down with them over the course of the next week, two weeks, and furthering those discussions.”
While both are still currently entering the final year of their contracts, Marks doesn’t expect the lack of extensions to be a distraction. “This is something those guys know exactly how we feel, and I think they’ve been vocal about wanting to be part of this and build this together,” Marks said. “I think we’ve got an opportunity to hopefully build something special here for the foreseeable future. The fact that they want to collaborate, they want to come here together, they want to build this together.”