Before putting in a trade request, Jimmy Butler reportedly sought a renegotiation of his contract with the Minnesota Timberwolves that would have paid him $30 million in the 2018-19 season and tacked on an additional four years and $145 million to his deal, according to Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic.
Shams Charania of The Athletic reported Wednesday that Butler requested a trade in a meeting with Tom Thibodeau after contemplating his future in Minnesota for "several weeks." ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski added that the three teams Butler is seeking to be traded to are the Los Angeles Clippers, New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets, with the Clippers and Knicks headlining the list.
The Wolves offered Butler a four-year, $110 million extension. But given that he could sign a five-year, $188 million extension with the team next summer, it was always unlikely he would sign that deal.
Krawczynski noted that "Thibodeau has been resistant to the idea of trading Butler," though he added that Butler's trade request was the "culmination of an offseason full of rumors, speculation and concern about the Timberwolves culture, the chemistry between Butler, Thibodeau, Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins and where they go from here."
Per Wojnarowski, Butler is "downplaying his fractured relationship with Towns as a reason for wanting a trade."
Wojnarowski added that Butler finds the Clippers appealing because they'll have the cap space next summer to both sign him to a max deal and bring aboard another elite free agent, with a class of players expected to include Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, Kyrie Irving, Klay Thompson, DeMarcus Cousins and Kemba Walker, among others.
The 29-year-old Butler will generate interest around the NBA, especially from those teams with the means to sign him to a long-term extension. The four-time All-Star averaged 22.2 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.9 assists and 2.0 steals per game last year and was one of the best two-way wings in the league.
Whether he will remain in Minnesota now becomes the most fascinating storyline heading into the 2018-19 season.