All-Star swingman Jimmy Butler has requested a trade from the Minnesota Timberwolves, according to a report from The Athletic.
Butler met with Timberwolves head coach and president of basketball operations Tom Thibodeau on Tuesday in Los Angeles, where Butler requested the trade, The Athletic reported.
ESPN added that Butler prefers to be traded to one of three teams — the Brooklyn Nets, New York Knicks or Los Angeles Clippers.
Reports have surfaced this summer that Butler may looking to somehow team up with Boston Celtics point guard and close friend Kyrie Irving in New York soon. But those reports are unsubstantiated, even with Irving due to become a free agent in the summer of 2019.
Thibodeau is reportedly refusing to trade Butler at the moment. The two were together earlier this decade with the Chicago Bulls and are said to share a mutual respect. Butler’s bigger issues reportedly were more likely to involve his younger teammates, such as Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins.
The Athletic refuted that notion, reporting that Butler’s issues with the Timberwolves are based more on “contractual matters.”
Butler, 29, averaged 22.2 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.9 assists in 59 games last season, pushing the Timberwolves to a rare playoff appearance. They lost to the Houston Rockets in five games in the first round.
Butler turned down a four-year contract extension from the Timberwolves following the season. At the time, Thibodeau said he wasn’t concerned that perhaps Butler wanted to move on from the franchise.
“I’ve been around a long time, I don’t buy into any of that stuff,” Thibodeau said (via the Minneapolis Star Tribune). “You have to distinguish what’s real and what’s not real. You never heard any of that come from Jimmy’s mouth. It’s always a source close to Jimmy. If Jimmy has something to say to someone, he usually says it directly.”