When news broke earlier this week that Minnesota Timberwolves star Jimmy Butler had requested a trade, the logical next question was who might be interested in him.
For his part, Butler gave Minnesota a list of three teams he’d sign an extension with prior to the start of the season. That list included both New York teams, the Nets and Knicks, as well as the Los Angeles Clippers. Another report noted that Butler’s preference was Southern California.
Now, according to Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic, several teams are in on the Butler sweepstakes. Moreover, some of the teams don’t need an assurance that he’d re-sign prior to hitting free agency next July.
In canvassing the league, there are a number of teams interested in Jimmy Butler. Not all of them would need assurances that Butler will sign long-term. Still unsure if Thibs will change stance and start engaging in trade talks.
— Jon Krawczynski (@JonKrawczynski) September 20, 2018
It’s pretty much the same gamble Oklahoma City took on Paul George prior to the 2017-18 campaign and the recent decision by the Toronto Raptors to trade for soon-to-be free agent Kawhi Leonard.
The backdrop here is more interesting. Butler is now seen as a problem by some executives around the Association.
“I wouldn’t trade for him,” an unnamed general manager told Amico Hoops on Thursday. “Someone will, eventually. But he’s a problem.”
Butler, 29, averaged 22.2 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.9 assists in what will likely be his only season in Minnesota.
Whether Butler’s image around the NBA will impact his trade market remains to be seen. But who do fully expect a resolution here within the next couple weeks.