NBA: Butler's impasse with Timberwolves continues as season nears


Posted at Oct 06 2018 12:42 PM

Minnesota Timberwolves guard Jimmy Butler (23) controls the ball as Houston Rockets guard Chris Paul (3) defends during the third quarter of their match at Toyota Center. Troy Taormina, USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

The impasse between four-time All-Star Jimmy Butler and the Minnesota Timberwolves continues with the season opener less than two weeks away.

Butler wants no part of returning to the team and has requested a trade.

Coach Tom Thibodeau isn't fond of discussing situations like this with reporters because he feels it becomes a distraction.

Yet in Butler's case, it already is a distraction. A big one.

"Obviously, we're trying to get something done," Thibodeau said Friday, hours before a preseason game against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

What eventually gets done is impossible to forecast, but time is running out in terms of there being a resolution prior to the season opener against the San Antonio Spurs on Oct. 17.

"It's all fluid," Thibodeau said. "We'll take it day by day. ... We're trying to do what's best for the team. And so we're focused on the guys who are here. And, obviously, we're trying to get something done. And we'll approach it as it comes."

There were rumblings that the Timberwolves and Miami Heat were making significant progress on a deal, but talks reportedly stalled because Minnesota made late requests to the proposal.

The Los Angeles Clippers, Phoenix Suns, Cleveland Cavaliers, Houston Rockets and Sacramento Kings are other teams rumored to have interest in Butler.

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.

Some of Butler's teammates would like to see him remain with the team, particularly close friend Jeff Teague.

"Jimmy's my guy," the point guard told reporters. "So, he's a professional. I know he's going to come in, work hard. You all know that. He's a team guy. He gives it all. I think he'd be accepted, but I guess we'll see.

"... It'd be nice to have him back, but it's not up to me."

Butler is entering the fourth season of a 5-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.

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