The NBA offseason carousel keeps on spinning.
Jimmy Butler, All-Star guard for the Minnesota Timberwolves, approached Minnesota management today and asked for a trade to the LA Clippers, Brooklyn Nets, or New York Knicks. Butler is entering the fourth year of a 5-year, $92 million contract originally signed in the summer of 2015. He is widely expected to opt out of the final season (2019-20) and become a free agent after this year.
Butler was traded to the Timberwolves last offseason and led the team to its first playoff appearance in 14 years. He is apparently uninterested in returning to Minnesota, and would prefer to be traded to a big market team immediately so that he can resign with said team on a 5-year maximum contract next summer. Free agents are only able to sign for a maximum of four years with a new team.
The Clippers, like the other two teams listed by Butler, could acquire the 29 year-old and still have room to sign another max-contract player next year to pair with him. Butler is a four-time All-Star (albeit in the Eastern Conference) and two-time All-NBA third team member.
Interestingly, all three teams in the trade request did not make the playoffs last season, suggesting that Butler wants to be the alpha (pun intended) on whatever team he plays for next. The presence of Karl-Anthony Towns, who predates him on the Timberwolves, would seemingly preclude that in Minnesota.
Thus far, Tom Thibodeau and his front office have not agreed to trade Butler and plan to start the season with the disgruntled star on their roster.
Update (5:21 p.m. PST): According to the latest report from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowksi, Butler is most interested in ending up on the Clippers over the two other teams mentioned on his short list, the Knicks and the Nets.
Minnesota's Jimmy Butler is most determined to find a way to the Los Angeles Clippers, league sources tell ESPN. The appeal of partnering with a second star - the Clippers have two max contract slots available in summer free agency - is an intriguing scenario for him.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) September 20, 2018