Heading into the 2018-19 NBA season, Jimmy Butler informed Minnesota Timberwolves head coach and president of basketball operations Tom Thibodeau of his trade request during their meeting in Los Angeles.
With Butler set to become a free agent following the season, the Los Angeles Lakers have been linked to him because they will have $38 million in salary cap space after buying out Luol Deng. However, they were not one of the three teams Butler listed as preferred trade destinations.
Amid a belief Thibodeau is resistant to trading the 29-year-old, new details have emerged about why Butler did not include the Lakers on his list.
With the Lakers signing LeBron James to a four-year, $154 million contract in free agency, Butler no longer finds the storied franchise as attractive, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
Butler had once imagined playing for the Los Angeles Lakers, but LeBron James’ arrival as the franchise’s cornerstone made it less appealing for Butler in the prime of his career, league sources said.
Before the trade request, there was a report of Butler being interested in teaming up with James.
While there will continue to be conflicting reports, the Lakers are still in a good position in the short- and long-term. Along with Butler, Kawhi Leonard, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson should headline an extremely talented 2019 free agency class.