Jimmy Butler has stood firm with his trade demand to the Minnesota Timberwolves and informed the team he would prefer to be dealt to the Miami Heat, according to a New York Times report.
The Heat reportedly have been aggressively pursuing Butler, but Miami has “found it hard to get Minnesota to clearly communicate,” according to the Times’ Marc Stein.
Head coach Tom Thibodeau met with Butler in Minneapolis following Butler’s physical on Monday, but overtures intended to coax Butler back to the team were rebuffed, according to multiple reports.
On Tuesday, Thibodeau said Minnesota plans to “honor his request” and is currently “seeing what is out there.”
“If something is good for us, that’s what we’re going to do,” Thibodeau said. “I don’t want to keep talking about that. I want to talk about the guys that are here.”
Butler was given permission to skip the team’s media day on Monday. He was present only for medical evaluations. Thibodeau said Butler would be away from the team for at least a week because he’s still rehabbing from offseason surgery on his right hand. However, Butler posted to social media his intense training workout videos and doesn’t appear to be physically limited in any way.
Thibodeau, also the vice president of basketball operations in Minnesota, and owner Glen Taylor are in a standoff over Butler’s status, with Taylor preferring to end the distraction quickly.
According to reports, the Phoenix Suns, Cleveland Cavaliers, Houston Rockets and Sacramento Kings have also kicked the tires on a Butler deal.
Butler, 29, appeared in 59 games last season for the Timberwolves, averaging 22.2 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.9 assists and 2.0 steals.
He is entering the fourth season of a five-year, $92.3 million contract he signed with Chicago in 2015, but he can enter the free agent market next summer by opting out of the final year. He is scheduled to earn a base salary of $18.7 million in 2018-19.
In July, Butler reportedly turned down Minnesota’s four-year extension offer worth $110 million.
—Field Level Media