Minnesota Timberwolves All-Star Jimmy Butler made headlines this offseason when he rejected a four-year, $100 million contract extension, per Nick Friedell of ESPN.com, but Las Vegas still believes he will start the season with his current team.
As OddsShark shared, the Timberwolves lead a list that includes the New York Knicks, Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Lakers for which team Butler will be on come opening day of the 2018-19 campaign:
Butler has a player option for the 2019-20 campaign and is set to be an unrestricted free agent following that season, per Spotrac, so it follows the Timberwolves are still the favorites to have him on the roster since he will be under contract.
They could look to trade him to get something back before he potentially leaves next offseason, but they made the playoffs as the No. 8 seed in 2017-18 and were competing for a more favorable seed before he suffered a knee injury. A healthy Butler makes Minnesota contenders to advance in the postseason.
Butler averaged 22.2 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.9 assists and 2.0 steals a night in 59 games, and Friedell pointed out he will likely make more money than the Timberwolves offered in their extension if he remains healthy and produces at that level once again.
Minnesota owner Glen Taylor discussed Butler's status during an interview with ESPN 1500 (h/t Friedell):
"We offered him the extension, and they've met and come back to us and said they're really appreciative of it, they appreciate that we got to them right away and all that, but they declined it.
"They said, 'You guys have done everything and we're very appreciative, but our bet is that we should wait 'til next year and we could get ourselves a better deal.' ... We did everything we could, and they want to do what they think is right for Jimmy."
Butler is one of the best two-way players in the league who can defend the opposing team's top playmaker on one end and carry the offense on the other with his outside shooting and ability to penetrate the lane and finish through traffic.
He is a four-time All-Star, two-time All-NBA selection and four-time All-Defensive team member who is just 28 years old and figures to draw plenty of interest should he hit the open market or become available via trade in the near future.