Jimmy Butler has requested a trade. That is the news emanating from the Los Angeles meeting between Butler, his agent, and Tom Thibodeau.
Butler has one year remaining on his contract, and will be a unrestricted free agent next summer, giving him significant leverage. Apparently, the discontent was simply too much to overcome, both in personal terms (his relationship with Karl-Anthony Towns) and on the court, where Butler has been frustrated with the play of younger teammates.
This is obviously bad news, as Butler was the Wolves best player last season, and a huge part of their return to relevance. However, problems have been on the horizon for months, and the team has, as far as I can tell, done nothing to try to solve them, leading to this crisis point mere days before the start of training camp.
We’ll have plenty more to come, but for now it’s not clear exactly how the Wolves will react. Trying to find a palatable trade under the circumstances will be a challenge, but given Butler’s desires, and apparently those of KAT as well, doing so immediately might be the only option.
It’s not impossible, however, that Butler remains with the Wolves at least as the season gets underway.
According to Jon Krawczynski of the Athletic, he’s given the Wolves a list of teams (no more than three) that he would sign an extension with.
Much more analysis to come, but as much as I blame Thibs, and Butler to a lesser extent for their intransigence, the fact that we’ve gotten to this point, days before camp, is an indictment on the entire organization starting with owner Glen Taylor.