Thibodeau: 'We're trying' to complete Butler trade

(AP) — Jimmy Butler is still with the Minnesota Timberwolves, at least in an official sense.

In reality, it remains a mess.

Timberwolves coach Tom Thibodeau Friday acknowledged the team’s efforts to grant Butler’s trade request.

“Obviously, we’re trying to get something done,” Thibodeau told reporters in Minneapolis.

What that “something” is, that’s still unknown.

Friday was Day 18 of the Butler saga, starting from when the four-time All-Star swingman told Thibodeau of his desire to play elsewhere. Butler has not practiced with the Timberwolves during training camp, and Friday night’s Wolves preseason game against Oklahoma City will be the third exhibition that he’s missed — with no end to the impasse in sight.

Multiple teams have been engaged in trade talks with the Timberwolves since Butler’s intentions to play elsewhere became known. Miami is one of those teams, and has been involved in the Butler negotiations with Minnesota almost from the very beginning. A person with knowledge of those negotiations said Friday that teams, the Heat included, are simply waiting for the Timberwolves to decide on what they want for Butler.

“They’re ongoing,” Thibodeau said of the trade talks.

With roughly a week and a half until the start of the regular season, there’s obvious urgency — Butler wants to play, the Timberwolves want closure and in theory, the team that might acquire Butler will want to get him involved in their plans while there’s still some time left in the preseason.

“It’d be nice to have him back,” Minnesota point guard Jeff Teague said Friday. “But it’s not up to me.”

Teague is a close friend of Butler’s, and has been in regular contact with him — but said he’s not getting caught up in trade chatter with Butler.

“We’re trying to do what’s best for the team, and so we’re focused on the guys that are here,” Thibodeau said. “I think that’s the important part.”