There's no question the Minnesota Timberwolves find themselves in an uncomfortable and unfortunate situation currently. Just a year after acquiring All-Star guard Jimmy Butler in a trade with the Chicago Bulls for Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn and Lauri Markkanen, the 29-year-old now wants out of town.
While Butler has two years remaining on his current deal, he could choose to opt out after this season and head to free agency. Essentially, it's somewhat of a lose-lose for the Timberwolves, as potential trade partners are well aware Butler wants out, which may drive his price down.
The only bright side is that if Minnesota deals the guard ahead of the upcoming season, teams who are either championship contenders or middling playoff teams could pay up to land him. A player of Butler's caliber can unquestionably help push a team over the top immediately.
Evaluating Potential Interest
Realistically, it may benefit the Timberwolves to send Butler to one of his preferred destinations. Those teams could be more inclined to create a solid package due to the fact that he'd be joining the team with the expectation of a longterm deal being signed shortly after.
Butler’s original list of destinations included the Brooklyn Nets, Los Angeles Clippers and New York Knicks. But since that point, we’ve seen somewhat of a shift, as the All-Star informed the Timberwolves that the Miami Heat are now the team he’s interested in joining. All four teams certainly have the ability to create a solid package for Butler, but not each of them should truly be considered in the mix.
Two other teams who could push their way into talks before all is said and done are the Houston Rockets and Philadelphia 76ers. A deal for the Sixers would be much easier to make happen, while the Rockets would likely need to add a third team to the mix due to their salary cap situation.
While Philadelphia has an intriguing amount of assets they could include, they are one of the longshot candidates to land Butler. Kyle Neubeck of the Philly Voice previously revealed that the Sixers are "wary" of the impact the Timberwolves guard would have on their locker room. He also pointed out the team is unlikely to pay up if the asking price is overly steep.
From here, we're going to take a look at all the info that's come to light thus far and evaluate the top potential destinations for Butler via trade. This list could potentially change or increase as additional information is revealed.
Let's dive in with one of the most likely teams to make a deal happen.