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Minnesota Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor doesn’t want to try to predict how or when the Jimmy Butler saga may end.
“Nobody is sure, exactly, how things are going to end up, including myself,” Taylor said during an extensive interview with Darren Wolfson on 1500 ESPN radio. “So I feel a little bad for the players. We had gone all summer and thought we had a team and knew who was gonna be on it, and how we would play. Jimmy’s announcement caught us all off guard.”
Butler requested a trade more than a month ago and Taylor estimates the Timberwolves have received inquiries from at least half of the league’s teams.
But he repeatedly told Wolfson that the Timberwolves will be patient in pulling the trigger on a deal involving their All-Star swingman.
“I have a responsibility to his teammates and our fans,” Taylor said. “We’re not going to get the perfect deal, I know that. But I’ve got to be out there trying to get the very best deal I can. Part of that I guess is patience with myself.
“The timing for this is just very poor. The other teams, and ourselves, were just putting our teams together (when Butler requested the trade). Most of them don’t want to be disrupted this early into the season. We’ve had some teams that have lost some games pretty early, that they didn’t expect. Those are probably the teams that will have the best opportunity to make a trade.
“It’s a tough one. I have to be patient and I hope our fans will be patient with me.”
Taylor admitted the situation has been particularly tough for Timberwolves president/coach Tom Thibodeau, who shares a mutual respect with Butler. Thibodeau reportedly has been more hesitant than either Taylor or general manager Scott Layden to make a trade.
“I will say this — those two have had a close relationship,” Taylor said of Thibodeau and Butler. “The coach and Jimmy have both done very well working together. I just think when (Butler) told the coach he wanted to leave, I think the coach wasn’t ready for it. … But if Jimmy doesn’t want to be here, I don’t see how we’re going to be the team that we need to be.”
As for opposing offers, Taylor is still waiting for a suitable one.
“I don’t think any team has given us their best offer yet,” Taylor said. “I think teams started out with the idea that Jimmy said he wanted to be traded, so that maybe they make an offer where they think they can a good deal, but it isn’t necessarily a good deal for us. And I understand that. But that’s the part where we need to be patient, and work with the other team.
“Ideally, you want a (trade) where both teams feel they got good value. That can happen. It’s hard, but it can happen. That’s what I’m striving for.”
And if the Timberwolves are unable to find a suitable trade?
“If that never happens, then I guess Jimmy will play out his deal with us and become a free agent at the end of the year,” Taylor told Wolfson. “Our alternative there is we’ll have a bunch of money, his salary, to go out and get a free agent ourselves.
“It isn’t like we don’t have alternatives. We do.”