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Jimmy Butler wasn’t at media day so Minnesota Timberwolves president of basketball operations and head coach Tom Thibodeau was left to address the trade talk.
“We’re not going to make a bad deal. If it’s a good deal, then we’re interested,” Thibodeau told reporters. “Our job is to seek out the best opportunity for us. If something is good for us then we’re interested in doing it. If not, we’re ready to move the other way.”
Butler is the Timberwolves’ star swingman and reportedly has requested a trade. When news like that breaks, nearly every team in the league will place a call.
The list of interested parties includes everyone from the Cleveland Cavaliers to the Miami Heat to the Houston Rockets and Philadelphia 76ers and beyond.
Thibodeau initially seemed opposed to moving Butler. But team owner Glen Taylor apparently has other ideas — especially after Butler turned down the team’s offer of a four-year contract extension over the summer.
The Timberwolves acquired Butler from the Chicago Bulls a little more than a year ago, on draft night of June 2017. Things immediately progressed on the court, as the Butler teamed with Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns to lead the Timberwolves to a 47-35 finish and rare playoff appearance.
But there were whispers Butler didn’t always mesh with Towns and Wiggins, leading to Butler’s desire to be dealt elsewhere. The Los Angeles Clippers, New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets are supposedly his preferred destinations.
“We knew where he was with his contract,” Thibodeau said, reflecting on the time of the trade. “He thought we’d have an opportunity to sign him. It didn’t work out.”
Butler, 29, averaged 22.2 points and 5.3 rebounds in 59 games during his first season with the Timberwolves.
He underwent knee surgery in February but returned for the playoffs, averaging 15.8 points before the Timberwolves were eliminated by the Houston Rockets.