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The Minnesota Timberwolves are currently rebuffing trade calls for star swingman Jimmy Butler, according to an ESPN report.
Butler reportedly requested a trade in a meeting with the Timberwolves on Tuesday. But head coach and president of basketball operations Tom Thibodeau and the Timberwolves are telling teams that Butler is not available, per ESPN.
“In the aftermath of Butler’s trade request this week, Minnesota executives are telling teams that Butler’s an elite player and that the franchise intends to keep him,” ESPN reported.
Several teams are said to be making a strong push for Butler, who supposedly prefers the Los Angeles Clippers, Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks as potential destinations.
Butler, 29, rejected a contract extension from the Timberwolves earlier this summer, and will be an unrestricted free agent in 2019. Still, several teams are said to be interested in Butler, even without assurances that he’ll sign long-term.
He averaged 22.2 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.9 assists in 59 games last season, helping to lift the Timberwolves to a rare playoff appearance. They lost to the Houston Rockets in five games in the first round.
This is the second time Butler has wanted out of a city after experiencing some success. The Timberwolves acquired him from the Chicago Bulls in a draft-night trade in 2017.
Thibodeau is resistant to trading Butler, The Athletic reported.