Wolves’ Thibodeau on Butler: We will honor trade request

It's been three weeks since Timberwolves All-Star swingman Jimmy Butler requested a trade.

Minnesota Timberwolves head coach and president of basketball operations Tom Thibodeau will likely have to answer questions about Jimmy Butler from here to eternity.

Or at least until the Timberwolves actually trade Butler — who requested to be dealt last week.

On the first day of training camp Tuesday, Thibodeau reiterated that the Timberwolves won’t just be trading Butler to trade him.

“We’re going to honor his request but we’re not going to do a bad deal,” Thibodeau told reporters. “We’re trying to make the best deal for the Timberwolves.”

The Miami Heat and Cleveland Cavaliers are two teams with supposedly strong interest in Butler. Others who have made contact include the Los Angeles Clippers, Brooklyn Nets, Detroit Pistons and Philadelphia 76ers.

An ESPN report that surfaced late Monday said the Sacramento Kings are aggressively attempting to become a third team to help the Timberwolves pull off a Butler trade. The Kings have available space under the salary cap and according to ESPN, the Kings’ involvement may be a necessity.

Another report from longtime NBA writer Chris Sheridan suggested the Nets are the most suitable destination for Butler, with a potential deal perhaps including Nets guard D’Angelo Russell.

Thibodeau met with Butler in attempt to try to persuade the star swingman to stay in Minnesota — but Butler reportedly declined. Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor is said to be heavily involved with much of the trade talks with opposing teams.

Butler has not spoken publicly, having skipped the Timberwolves’ media day and being excused from training camp.

“A source said Taylor has been in regular contact with Butler’s camp, assuring them that the team is working toward completing a deal,” the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.