There had been rumours of unrest between the player and the franchise for several weeks, but it seemed like Butler was going to remain a Timberwolf for this season at least.
Butler has offered three teams he’d be willing to sign for when he’s a free agent in 2019. As ever, Adrian Wojnarowski has provided further information on who the three teams are.
Minnesota's Jimmy Butler has three preferred destinations for a trade, league sources tell ESPN: The Brooklyn Nets, Los Angeles Clippers and New York Knicks. Those three teams have max cap space to sign Butler as a free agent in July.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) September 19, 2018
The likelihood of Butler signing for the Nets or the Clippers is surely low, considering neither are close to being a playoff contender.
If Butler is traded to the LA Clippers or the Brooklyn Nets, it will mean that he will be the franchise player in a large market. This could be Butler’s opportunity to build his superstardom.
The New York Knicks may be Butler’s best option. New York is an enormous market and the best place for a basketball star to grow his profile. The potential of a super team in the Big Apple will surely play a role too, with Kyrie Irving, Butler’s close friend, hitting free agency next offseason. If this is the case, Butler will have the opportunity to compete for championships with two fellow All-Stars.
Other teams will surely be considering a move for Butler before the season starts next month. Teams already expected to contend will have to be inventive with any trade package, though, given that so many are right up against the salary cap.
No one knows what the Timberwolves will demand in return. Paul George‘s trade to the Thunder last offseason might set the market for Butler, which saw Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis join the Pacers. Given Butler’s impending free agency, teams face a difficult decision, balancing the future and the now, as they weigh up a move.