Jimmy Butler joined Kawhi Leonard as a disgruntled All-Star who sought a trade. Like Leonard with Gregg Popovich, Butler made his preference clear after meeting with Tom Thibodeau.
Both Butler and Leonard have one year remaining on their respective contracts. Adding even more intrigue to their situations is the timing each player made his trade request. Leonard’s overlapped with free agency, and Butler’s comes days before training camp opens.
As part of his message that he would like to be traded, Butler was also said to have provided the Timberwolves a list of teams he would sign a contract extension with, which in theory would aid negotiations and accelerate a deal.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Butler has a preference to be traded to the Brooklyn Nets, Los Angeles Clippers or New York Knicks:
Minnesota's Jimmy Butler has three preferred destinations for a trade, league sources tell ESPN: The Brooklyn Nets, Los Angeles Clippers and New York Knicks. Those three teams have max cap space to sign Butler as a free agent in July.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) September 19, 2018
While they don’t appear to be on his list of preferred teams, the Los Angeles Lakers were previously connected to Butler. Amid reports of growing frustration with the Timberwolves, he was said to be open to playing with LeBron James.
Their absence from the list could be related to the Lakers not yet having enough salary to include in a trade. That would change come the middle of December, when the veterans they signed to one-year contracts this summer become eligible to be traded.
In the meantime, the Lakers would need to include members of their young core in a deal for Butler, which goes against how the front office has operated thus far.