While Jimmy Butler has reportedly provided the Minnesota Timberwolves with a list of three teams he would be willing to sign a long-term extension with, there could be a strong trade market for the four-time All-Star.
According to the Athletic's Jon Krawczynski, there are "a number of teams" interested in Butler, including some willing to trade even without the assurance of an extension.
Stadium's Shams Charania reported on Wednesday that Butler has requested a trade from Minnesota, noting that he is hopeful a deal can be reached before training camp opens on Tuesday:
Charania added, though, that Timberwolves coach Tom Thibodeau is reluctant to trade Butler, who he also drafted and coached for four years with the Chicago Bulls.
ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Butler's "preferred destinations" are the Brooklyn Nets, the Los Angeles Clippers and the New York Knicks, pointing out all of those teams could offer him a max contract as a free agent next year.
Any team not on that list would be acquiring a star who is in the final year of his contract with the hope of convincing him to stay. It worked for the Oklahoma City Thunder this past year, who traded for Paul George even though he appeared to be a lock for the Los Angeles Lakers this summer.
Despite helping the Timberwolves snapping a 13-year playoff drought last season, this offseason has featured no shortage of drama for Butler.
The 29-year-old turned down approximately a four-year, $110 million extension with Minnesota this summer, although Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor later said in an interview with ESPN 1500 that Butler was "really appreciative" of the offer but was looking to cash in even more in 2019.
Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times added that Butler was not interested in signing a long-term deal with Minnesota because of the "nonchalant attitudes of younger teammates," including Karl-Anthony Towns.
Any team interested would have to hope Butler jelled with its roster. Unless that team was on Butler's list, any type of tension or dysfunction could seriously hamper the organization's chances of re-signing him after the season.
Of course, the trade offers the Timberwolves receive could be negatively impacted if Butler does not commit to a suitor long-term. But as OKC proved with George, the reward can be worth the risk.