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Report: Butler reiterates trade request to Thibodeau

From NBA Twitter and media reports

The Minnesota Timberwolves have yet to move All-Star swingman Jimmy Butler. But he hasn’t relented on his desire to be traded from the Wolves even though nearly three weeks have passed since he made his intentions known.

According to Jon Krawczynski and Shams Charania of The Athletic, Butler returned to Minnesota on Monday and met with Timberwolves coach Tom Thibodeau and said he still wants a trade. Butler had been away from the team while the Wolves were in California for a preseason bonding trip. Krawcynski reports Butler was still not in town when the team returned last week.

Here’s more from Krawczynski on Butler’s meeting with Thibodeau:

Jimmy Butler has returned to Minnesota and, in a meeting with president and coach Tom Thibodeau, reiterated his desire to traded, league sources told The Athletic.

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. The Wolves have had conversations with a number of teams, most notably the the Miami Heat, but have yet to close a deal.

Butler worked out in Minneapolis on Monday and talked with Thibodeau, making clear that nothing has changed in the last three weeks, sources said. It remains unclear when, or if, he will join the team in practice as they prepare for the season opener at San Antonio on Oct. 17.

Days ago, reports of a nearly completed deal between the Wolves and Miami Heat emerged. However, proposed changes from Minnesota created a breakdown in negotiations just as the teams were close to finalizing the deal. The teams reportedly advanced to the point of exchanging player medical information, which is typically the last step of NBA trade negotiations.

Except for this trade, the Timberwolves responded with an amendment to the framework of the deal, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, which caused the trade talks to “fracture”.

Butler, a four-time All-Star, averaged 22.2 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.9 assists and 2.0 steals in 59 games for the Timberwolves last season. He had a minor procedure done on his right hand in July after meniscus surgery on his right knee in February, an injury that kept him out for 21 games in 2017-18.

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. Minnesota’s All-Star big man, Karl-Anthony Towns, was entering the final year of his contract in 2018-19 as well. But he signed an extension with the Wolves shortly after training camp opened, securing his place in Minnesota for years to come.

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.

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.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.


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