Speaking to TMZ Sports on Thursday, Silver said Butler and the T-Wolves "gotta work it out."
"I think that Jimmy is obviously a fantastic player. The Timberwolves had a great season last year," Silver added. "... He's got one year left on his contract and I know Jimmy, that if they don't end up doing the right deal for him [to trade him away], he's gonna play hard and he's gonna stay this year."
Butler and the Wolves have seemed headed for a divorce since he requested a trade from the organization last month.
After remaining away from the Timberwolves during the preseason while awaiting a resolution to his request, Butler practiced with his team for the first time on Wednesday.
Wojnarowski noted Butler was "boldly challenging teammates, coaches and front-office executives" during practice.
The Athletic's Shams Charania reported Butler led a players-only meeting on Thursday in which the four-time All-Star made it clear he will play when the regular season begins in the event no trade agreement is reached.
Whether Butler remains with the Timberwolves or not, the team will tip off the 2018-19 campaign on Oct. 17 against the San Antonio Spurs at the AT&T Center.