All-Star swingman Jimmy Butler is reportedly seeking a trade from the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Per The Athletic's Shams Charania and Jon Krawczynski, Butler has given the Timberwolves a list of one to three teams with which he is open to signing a contract extension.
ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reports the Brooklyn Nets, LA Clippers, New York Knicks are on Butler's list of preferred trade destinations, with the Clippers looming as his favorite landing spot. Minnesota currently has no interest in trading him, according to Wojnarowski.
Butler holds a player option on his contract next season, but it is widely expected he will opt out and join a 2019 free-agent market that many expect to be robust. In addition, Minnesota's All-Star big man, Karl-Anthony Towns, is in the final year of his contract. Towns can sign a contract extension by Oct. 15 or else, he, too, could enter the free-agent pool next summer.
Reports circulated in the offseason that Butler was frustrated with the nonchalant attitudes of Towns and Andrew Wiggins. Next season, Wiggins will begin playing on his maximum contract in 2018-19, with a $25 million-plus salary that will account for more than 20 percent of the team’s cap and push the Timberwolves close to the luxury tax threshold.
However, Krawczynski reports that Butler's decision to request a trade "had little if anything to do" with Towns and Wiggins and centered more on contractual matters.
Butler posted on Twitter Monday night that he was set to meet with Timberwolves general manager Scott Layden and coach Tom Thibodeau on Tuesday to discuss his future with the team.
"Exactly why people need to stop believing what you see on the internet," Butler wrote on Twitter. "I didn’t have no damn meeting today ... its tomorrow ... I wonder what else people write and people believe hmmm ..."
Wojnarowski reported Tuesday that Thibodeau was en route to Los Angeles yesterday to meet with Butler. Originally, the sides had planned to meet in Minneapolis, but that changed.
The Timberwolves acquired Butler from Chicago in exchange for Kris Dunn, Zach LaVine and Lauri Markkanen during the 2017 offseason. The former 30th overall pick helped propel the young Timberwolves to a 47-35 season while earning his fourth consecutive All-Star berth. The Wolves made the playoffs, ending a 14-year drought for the franchise, but they lost 4-1 to the top-seeded Houston Rockets in the first round.
Overall, Butler averaged 22.2 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.9 assists and 2.0 steals per game on his way to All-NBA Third Team and All-Defensive Second Team honors. In late June, Thibodeau said he was comfortable if Butler played the upcoming season without an extension in place, as several of the league’s stars did in 2017-18.
“Every day we work at it. We know how important he is, and we feel he’s one of the best players in the league,” Thibodeau said then. “I know he loves living here. The winning is important to him, I know.”
Butler had an elective surgical procedure on his right hand and missed Team USA's summer practice in Las Vegas. Training camp begins on Sept. 25, with Media Day on the 24th.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.