Jimmy Butler Requests Trade From Minnesota Timberwolves

    Jimmy Butler wants out of Minnesota. According to Stadium NBA Insider Shams Charania and Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic, the All-Star guard has told head

    September 19, 2018

    Jimmy Butler wants out of Minnesota.

    According to Stadium NBA Insider Shams Charania and Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic, the All-Star guard has told head coach and team president Tom Thibodeau he would like to be traded. Butler has reportedly told the team he will sign an extension with the Nets, Knicks or Clippers, which is slightly odd given his reported desire for annual postseason success.

    There were rumblings of Butler clashing with Timberwolves’ budding stars Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins, according to Charania. With Wiggins showing little improvement after receiving a five-year, $148 million extension in 2017, those frustrations seemed to have reached a tipping point.

    Butler was instrumental in ending Minnesota’s 13-year playoff drought. He put up 22.2 points per game and provided an all-around scoring threat to take the pressure off Towns in the post. Butler provided enough defense to lift Minnesota’s otherwise disastrous unit to league-average levels. The Timberwolves were 36-26 before Butler’s injury late in the season. They went 8-9 without him before sneaking into the playoffs as the eighth seed when Butler returned for the final three contests.

    Minnesota is going to take a big hit should Butler be dealt before the season begins. He was in four of the Timberwolves’ five best lineups by net rating that played at least 48 minutes together. Butler had the best defensive rating and highest net rating among the Timberwolves’ starters. Without him, Minnesota could be one of the worst defensive teams in the league next season.

    The Timberwolves must now look to get a significant return on a player for whom they traded just a season ago. Minnesota sacrificed two young players and a lottery pick to acquire Butler and should look to get a similar return. At 29, Butler is still in his prime and is one of the league’s few two-way star wing players and will garner significant interest.

    Butler is a free agent after this season, giving the Timberwolves significantly less leverage and time to get a good return for the star. It’s surprising how quickly the situation soured in Minnesota given the team’s relative success and projected internal growth. Thibodeau and Butler had a successful run in Chicago and the coach hand-picked Butler to be the centerpiece of a new era for the franchise. Even with the team’s struggles late in the year, a postseason appearance seemed to be a sign of bigger things to come.

    With Butler’s imminent departure, the Timberwolves will now have to focus on giving Towns an extension and hoping Wiggins can develop into the star he appeared to be after his rookie season. Minnesota will likely dip out of the playoff picture in the Western Conference and Thibodeau could be the latest in a recent string of president/coach types to see his role changed.

    Butler was supposed to be the final piece to Minnesota’s championship puzzle. Instead, the Timberwolves will once again have to hit the reset button.

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