Jimmy Butler wants to sign a five-year maximum deal with a new team next year, which is why he wants out of Minnesota this season, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic. Butler, who is expected to opt out of his current contract next summer, is limited to four years and about $140MM if he changes teams in free agency. However, his Bird rights will transfer in any trade, so if a team deals for him, it can make a five-year offer in the neighborhood of $190MM.
Butler was hoping for a larger extension offer from the Wolves than the four-year, $100MM+ deal he turned down in July, Charania adds. However, Minnesota was prohibited by CBA rules from offering more than that amount this offseason unless the team renegotiated Butler’s contract, which would require cap room.
Executives from other teams believe a Butler trade will happen at some point this season, but it’s not clear where he will go or when it might happen. Butler identified the Knicks, Nets and Clippers as his preferred locations when making his trade request, but the Wolves are under no obligation to grant his wishes. Another report tonight identified the Clippers as the early front-runner.
Brooklyn and L.A. seem motivated to try to land Butler, Charania adds, while New York is reluctant to part with draft picks and young players. The Celtics have the assets to make a play for Butler, but don’t need him with Gordon Hayward‘s return from ankle surgery. Charania suggests the Sixers may also check into Butler’s price tag.
There’s more to pass along as teams line up for a shot at Butler:
- Butler didn’t put the Lakers on his list, reportedly because he isn’t interested in a complementary role to LeBron James, but even if he wanted to go there the team would have difficulty putting together an offer for the next three months, according to Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report. L.A.’s roster is filled with newly signed free agents who aren’t eligible to be traded until December 15. The team would need to send out at least $16MM to match salaries and has a limited pool of players to pick from. Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram would give them a combined $13.2MM, but the Lakers aren’t likely to part with two young stars when they can offer a max deal next summer. They could have kept Luol Deng for salary matching purposes, but Pincus states that Butler was never a priority for the organization.
- The Nets have young talent, a couple of large expiring contracts and their first-round pick for the first time since 2013, notes Michael Scotto of The Athletic. Caris LeVert is considered a core piece of the organization, but Brooklyn may be willing to part with the versatile guard for a player like Butler. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson is coming off his best NBA season, but will be eligible for restricted free agency next summer. Impending free agents Kenneth Faried ($13.76 million) and DeMarre Carroll ($15.4 million) could both be useful to match salaries.
- The Heat would love to acquire Butler, but may not have the assets to make a deal work, tweets Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. Goran Dragic, Tyler Johnson and Hassan Whiteside could all be traded one-for-one for Butler, adds Anthony Chiang of The Herald, but he states that Minnesota will be looking for younger talent such as Josh Richardson, Justise Winslow and Bam Adebayo.
- Oddsmaker Bovada lists the Timberwolves as 3/2 favorites to still have Butler when the season starts, relays Sean Highkin of Bleacher Report (Twitter link). The Sixers are next in line at 11/4, followed by the Knicks at 15/4, the Lakers at 5/1 and the Nets and Celtics each at 15/2.