It appears the Minnesota Timberwolves are prepared to move on from four-time All-Star Jimmy Butler.
Shams Charania of The Athletic reports the franchise is "aligning its organizational focus on next step of trading" Butler after differing agendas between ownership and management earlier this week. ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski adds Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor has made it clear to team president and coach Tom Thibodeau that he wants the disgruntled All-Star dealt sooner rather than later. Here's more from Wojnarowski:
Butler has likely worn the Timberwolves uniform for the final time, because Taylor has no interest in bringing Butler into the team's training camp and threatening a bigger circus than already exists within the franchise.
So far, few franchises, if any, are engaged in serious conversations with the Timberwolves on Butler, sources said. But the list of organizations interested in talking further with Minnesota is significant, league sources said: Brooklyn, Detroit, Houston, the LA Clippers, Miami, Philadelphia, Portland and Sacramento are among the teams interested in probing for deals.
ESPN Sources: Another team pursuing a Jimmy Butler trade with Minnesota: Cleveland. Cavs owner Dan Gilbert was seen talking privately with Glen Taylor at NBA Board of Governors meeting on Friday. Both owners played a part in negotiating the Love-Wiggins deal.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) September 23, 2018
Taylor and Butler want a deal completed before the Timberwolves' first day of practice on Tuesday, which would require the Timberwolves to use Sunday and Monday to become more aggressive in gathering offers. Taylor's plan would be to sift through the offers and bring those most appealing for Minnesota back to Butler and his agent, Bernie Lee. This way, the Wolves could learn which teams would interest Butler in signing an extension next summer, which is information that would allow the Wolves to get the best possible return.
Entering last season, Butler was heralded as the established star Minnesota needed to snap its playoff drought and bring along its talented young core. The first portion of those hopes came to fruition as the Timberwolves made the playoffs for the first time since 2004.
Now, however, the former Chicago Bull could very well have played his 64th and last game in a Timberwolves uniform just one year after Minnesota dealt Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn and Lauri Markkanen to acquire him. Butler reportedly asked the franchise to trade him last week.
With the Timberwolves' front office now on the same page, fulfilling that request and moving on from Butler appears to be a high priority for Minnesota.
The team reportedly agreed to a five-year contract extension with franchise star Karl-Anthony Towns on Saturday night.