September 19, 2018, 2:46 pm
The reports are flooding in and the meeting between Jimmy Butler and Tom Thibodeau has reach a conclusion. The result? Butler requesting a trade out of Minnesota, according to Shams Charania of the Athletic.
Jimmy Butler has requested a trade from the Minnesota Timberwolves, league sources tell me and @JonKrawczynski. Butler has given Minnesota a list of one-to-three teams with whom he's open to signing extension, in anticipation of trade.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) September 19, 2018
The three teams have since been named as the New York Knicks, Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Clippers, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. Each of those teams will have the max contract space to offer Butler an extension this summer, and each will have an opportunity to add another star player along side Butler in his elusive quest for a ring.
The news comes less than a week before media day and training camp and the timing couldn’t be worse for the franchise. Butler and Thibodeau met in Los Angeles yesterday to discuss the player’s future with the team, which concluded with the trade request.
Any trade will be difficult for Thibodeau, not only logistically, but on a personal and professional level as well. It’s tough to envision Thibodeau sticking around after Butler leaves, so trading him could be his own death sentence in Minnesota. Then extracting value out of Butler will be difficult as well with the season right around the corner. On top of that, Thibodeau has a deep admiration for Butler and is the type of player who fits his mold perfectly.
For Thibodeau it’s a lose-lose. For the Wolves, it might be best if they can put this short era behind them and once again reset.
It appears that Butler is determined to be traded to the Clippers where they can fit him and one other max-level player on the roster next summer, per Woj. However Thibodeau is hesitant to trade Butler at this time.
For Thibodeau, if he trades Butler he’s raising the white flag. He wants to make this work at all costs, but that ship has sailed. At this point it looks like Thibs will either have to be fired or, if he indeed caves and trades Butler, will end up trading the disgruntled star for a package of veterans in a last-ditch attempt to win this season. Sean Deveney of the Sporting News spoke to an NBA executive who thinks that Thibs has no interest in a rebuild.
— Sporting News (@sportingnews) September 20, 2018
As more information comes to light, this report will be updated. Check out the more in-depth look at the lead-up and fallout from this scenario here. Also in the meantime, feel free to check out the petty wars that are being fought. Everybody is chipping in; Butler, Wiggins, Stephen Jackson, Nick Wiggins, RIcky Rubio and even Lauri Markkanen. The NBA is back.
This morning, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN published a piece that mentioned the front office for the Wolves was against the idea of trading Butler and weren’t even courting offers for the disgruntled player. This backed up last night’s report that Thibodeau would rather play-out the season with Butler than trade him and probably lose more games.
Story filed to ESPN: Rival executives lobbing calls to Minnesota’s front office on possibility of trading for Jimmy Butler are getting inquires shut down. Minnesota is telling teams that Butler’s an elite player and franchise intends to keep him.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) September 21, 2018
The decision seems questionable but, from Thibodeau’s perspective, predictable. He’d rather captain a sinking ship than jump for the lifeboats, and when Thibs is the leading of the front office, they follow his directive.
This afternoon, though, Woj again reported on the Wolves, this time mentioning that they are very much looking to trade Butler, you just have to go straight to the top to negotiate.
Story filed to ESPN: As Minnesota’s front office tells inquiring rivals that team has no plans to trade Jimmy Butler, owner Glen Taylor had a different message at NBA’s Board of Governors meetings: Butler is available and owners/GM’s should contact Taylor himself if necessary.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) September 21, 2018
This is why your head coach should not lead the basketball operations as well. Scott Layden, the GM of the Wolves who handles the day-to-day affairs and trade discussions, is now caught in between a potential battle of attrition between Thibodeau and Taylor (one that will surely end poorly for Thibs), and Layden will have to carefully toe the line between the two sides.
Instead of causing some confusion, though, Taylor has taken matters into his own hands. At the Board of Governors Meetings the other executives inferred that they should talk to Taylor over anyone else, according to Woj:
“The owner’s trading him,” one Board of Governors attendee told ESPN on Friday. “That was made clear. It’s just a matter of when.”
“He basically said, ‘If you don’t get anywhere with [Layden], and you’ve got something good, bring it to me”
At one point, it was looking like Thibodeau might be able to last the rest of the season before the two sides parted ways. Now it looks like Thibodeau (and possibly Butler) might not make it until Media Day on Monday.
The Jimmy Butler saga continues, but it plans to stay away from the cameras and watchful eyes for the time being. Jon Krawczynski of the Athletic has reported that Butler has been granted permission to skip Monday’s media day session. He also will miss the early portions of training camp.
The Timberwolves have also been made aware that Jimmy Butler will not be available for on-court activities at the outset of training camp, sources tell @TheAthleticMIN
— Jon Krawczynski (@JonKrawczynski) September 22, 2018
As fun as it would have been to see Butler and Wiggins in the same room answering questions about on another, this is the right move. It will still be quite awkward, but it saves the team a potential PR nightmare.
It’s very likely that the team we see at media day and in training camp is vastly different from the team we see on opening night. Not only is Butler obviously nearing an exit, reports from last night suggest that Taylor would prefer to attach Gorgui Dieng to a Butler deal to clear even more future cap space. Then with the front office likely to go through a major overhaul and the coaching staff facing a mass exodus if Thibs is fired, things are about to get juicy in Minneapolis.