Despite head coach and president of basketball operations Tom Thibodeau reportedly rebuffing trade offers for the star shooting guard, owner Glen Taylor has told inquiring teams that Butler is very much available, according to ESPN.
The Timberwolves hold their first practice of training camp on Tuesday, leaving a short window for the franchise to complete a deal for Butler before they begin their preparations for the season.
There has been dysfunction within the team due to the deteriorating relationship between Butler, Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins. While Butler is a four-time All-Star, Minnesota is building the franchise on Towns, who is seven years younger and on the rise.
On Saturday, the Timberwolves locked up the All-Star centre to a five-year, $190 million super-max extension, making it evident which star the team will commit to for the foreseeable future.
While Thibodeau wants to keep Butler around, with the two having a relationship that dates back to their time together in Chicago, many in the Timberwolves organisation would reportedly rather see Butler go.
In requesting a trade, Butler reportedly gave Minnesota a list of teams that he would prefer, which includes the Los Angeles Clippers, New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets. All three teams are capable of creating two max-contract slots next summer, when stars like Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Klay Thompson and DeMarcus Cousins would hit free agency.
Butler can sign a five-year, $190 million extension with any team that trades for him, or ink a four-year, $141 million deal as a free agent next offseason. Considering the max contract Butler is seeking and his age (29), teams may hesitate to offer the Timberwolves multiple valuable assets.
Regardless, Butler’s exit seems all but inevitable, with Taylor intent to oversee a trade of another star, as he did when Kevin Garnett and Kevin Love left Minnesota.
In waiting until just before training camp to request a trade, Butler has hampered the Timberwolves’ leverage.
Stephen Curry has made himself into a global sports star and now he is intent on helping future generations use basketball to do the same.
The Golden State Warriors point guard, a two-time MVP, has been on an Under Armour world tour and London was his latest stop over the weekend.
Basketball is hugely popular in the United Kingdom and is second only to football for participation numbers of a team sport, though it receives very little funding.
Its future growth in this country appears reliant on the NBA, with the likes of Curry promoting the game and the continuation of a regular-season match being played in London.
“Basketball is kind of low on the radar here, but we want to try and continue to raise the patter game and the next generation of kids that are getting into the game earlier,” Curry said.
“What they see in the NBA and with myself and maybe being able to carve a story out for themselves in the game of basketball – that is why I am here.
“I was meeting the club from London that was here and there was talent, it’s about continuing to try and reach that as much as we can.
“Basketball and NBA is growing crazy worldwide, so to be able to share the stories and interest is great.
“The talent around the league is crazy all the way through, obviously I want to be the best in the league at what I do and be a trailblazer in effort and let the kids know that the game of basketball has a lot of offer.
“Most won’t make it to the NBA and that is fine, you can find a journey through the game that can open up a lot of different doors, I think that is what we represent.”
The interest in the game might spike even further if the NBA sent over some of the higher-profile teams for the London clash.
This year it will be between the New York Knicks and the Washington Wizards, but the interest would surely peak if the likes of Curry or LeBron James were on show at the O2 Arena.
Curry would love to play over here after taking a real shine to London.
“I hope the Warriors can come,” he added. “A lot of my team-mates have been over here on their own.
“As a team playing a game; I know they rotate the teams that come and play the global game in the regular season so I am sure that will happen at some point.
“London is amazing, I came last summer, my wife was out here filming a show, so I came out for about a week and a half, we were staying in Chelsea, I got to see the city.
“It was my first time staying here so that was pretty special. It is nice to be back, I went to the football at Wembley which was fun, the people is amazing, the reception is always amazing and the culture here is phenomenal so I appreciate the opportunity to be here.”
According to Ginobili, that will present a test for head coach Gregg Popovich, who has been able to lean on a familiar group of veterans for so long.
“It’s going to be a challenge to learn more about the new guys and see what buttons to push,” Ginobili said.
See what else Ginobili had to say in the video below.