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Jimmy Butler still wants to be traded and Minnesota Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor remains resolute when it comes to granting Butler his wish.
While talks have slowed way down since before the season started, the Timberwolves know they have to move Butler … or lose him for nothing in free agency following the season.
According to ESPN NBA insider Brian Windhorst, via Alex Kennedy’s HoopsHype podcast, a number of teams are still strongly interested in Butler. They include the Miami Heat, Los Angeles Clippers, Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks.
Both the Clippers and Mavericks will have enough financial flexibility to sign Butler in free agency, meaning they may be less willing to offer what the Wolves are seeking in a deal. Yahoo Sports also recently reported the Clippers had been put off by some of Butler’s antics while waiting for a trade.
“The ground is not fertile for a trade right now, and there’s a couple of reasons,” Windhorst said. “One is that for some teams, Jimmy Butler will clearly be a rental. He’s not going to want to stay in every market he gets traded to. So that depresses his value to some teams.”
Timberwolves president/coach Tom Thibodeau remains hopeful Butler will see out the season and be convinced to re-sign once it ends. Not surprising, since Butler has basically been the team’s early-season MVP.
But Thibodeau apparently has been removed from the talks, with Taylor asking him to focus on coaching. The trading will be left up to Taylor and Wolves general manager Scott Layden.
That could help move things along, as Thibodeau was viewed as sort of half-hearted in his attempts to make a deal.
For now, it seems, opposing teams are waiting for the Timberwolves to lower their asking price, and Butler will keep performing, and with as well as he’s been playing, driving up the asking price.